By Philip Nwosu

The Nigerian Navy has inducted 12 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to improve its surveillance capabilities and enable it to fight maritime crimes.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, while inaugurating the drones, said they  would assist the navy in protection of the country’s maritime assets while improving its  maritime surveillance.

Admiral Ogalla, who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Adm. Zakariyyah Muhammad, said the surveillance UAVs would complement the already existing air assets of the Nigerian Navy, while supporting the surface ships and maritime domain awareness platforms.

He said: “In an era where the nature of warfare is evolving rapidly, embracing cutting-edge technologies becomes imperative for enhancing our national security.

“These UAVs, with their advanced capabilities and versatility, will undoubtedly enhance our naval surveillance for furtherance of strategic capabilities.

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“I have no doubt that this will rejig the Nigerian Navy towards better service delivery in the maritime domain of our dear country,” he said.

The CNS added that the navy was expecting five more helicopters within the first quarter of 2024, which would enhance its maritime capabilities. “This will make safer waters for both local and international maritime trade.”

Ogalla commended the Western Naval Command for innovative and dogged efforts towards maintaining credible maritime presence and curtailing criminalities in its area of operations.

Also speaking to Daily Sun, Rear Admiral Francis Akpan (retd) said the utilisation of drones offers several strategic advantages in the context of maritime security.

Equipped with advanced sensors and high-resolution cameras, it was learnt that the UAVs can conduct aerial reconnaissance over expansive areas, providing real-time data and surveillance footage to naval authorities. This enhanced situational awareness empowers the Nigerian Navy to swiftly detect suspicious vessels, monitor illegal activities, and respond promptly to potential threats.