The federal government has approved the sum of N2.3bn for local assemblage of Magnus training aircraft.
The assemblage will be carried out at Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, (NCAT) Zaria, Kaduna State.
Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, disclosed this after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Sirika expressed optimism that the Nigerian aviation industry would soon progress into local manufacturing of aircraft.
Nigeria will assemble the Sentinel variant locally, while Magnus will supply dozens of its aerobatic Fusion UL training aircraft.
In May last year, Magnus signed an agreement with Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) for the assembly and sale of its Fusion UL model. Alkali Modigbo, director general, NCAT, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, and László Boros CEO of Magnus Aircraft Zrt were present during the signing.
“I am happy to announce – today is the reality; we will indeed assemble the Magnus aircraft and will continue to do so and in the not too distant future by God’s grace, the industry of civil aviation will begin to manufacture right here in the country.
“But we are beginning by assembling these training aircraft and it will happen very soon.
“So, the memorandum has been passed in council; the manufacturer of the airplane is based in Hungary.
“And the total contract sum is N2.3 billion; the completion period is 18 months.’
“We were all trained like that as pilots; but because airplanes become more and more technologically advanced, the need for spin and spin recovery didn’t arise, because they are becoming more and more sophisticated.
“But again, the world realised that we still get into spin or there is a need for this skill to be developed for recovery out of spin situations.
“So, most manufacturers stopped producing trainers for that purpose; and so there are not many people now that do that manufacture.
“And the company, Messrs Magnus, realised that gap and started to produce airplanes that can get into spin and out of it, so that students can be trained on that,” the minister said.
The minister said that due to the ministry’s maximum attention to safety, it believed that such training should come back to Nigeria’s aviation industry.
“So this airplane is fully aerobatic, goes into aerobatics; and I think the Nigerian Air Force and the Air Force around the region will be interested and excited by this development, we are taking the lead in civil aviation.
“It is our intention to produce them here, assemble them here in policy, when in the future, you know, sell them out to where we’re interested around the world.
“So this will happen and I think the first one or two aircraft will happen here in Nigeria and to fly them within the remaining four months that we have as a government.”
Nigeria and Hungary began collaborating in January 2021 to enhance pilot training, the operation and maintenance of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) payload.