The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, says Artificial Intelligence will shape the future of the Nigerian Air Force, noting that total radar coverage of Nigeria’s airspace is necessary for national security.
Mr Abubakar said this at the 2023 Communication Information Systems Conference on Wednesday in Abuja. He said monitoring the Nigerian airspace by implementing military total radar coverage would position the NAF to meet the country’s airpower demands.
He said it was a goal the NAF had been tirelessly pursuing and challenged the participants to bring up viable ideas to achieve the feat.
Mr Abubakar said CIS was one of the pillars of modern military operations because it enables commanders to make informed decisions, coordinate forces, and, by extension, achieve mission success.
The air force chief said that the NAF had always strived to stay at the forefront of technological advancements, adding that the drive to stay ahead of the curve in adopting new technologies also corresponds with one of the key enablers of his Command Philosophy.
This, according to him, is prioritising Research and Development, leveraging cutting-edge technology, and strategic partnerships and lessons.
He added that the conference was in furtherance of the efforts of NAF to meet contemporary operational demands of the Armed Forces, independently or through a multi-agency environment.
“Our world is changing at an unprecedented pace and the landscape of modern warfare is evolving just as quickly. As we gather here to deliberate on pertinent issues, it is necessary to note that we are at the intersection of technology, artificial intelligence and network-centric warfare.
“These elements are the driving forces that would shape the future of the NAF. Our ability to churn out ideas to harness the power of technology will determine our success in ensuring the highest levels of operational effectiveness and efficiency,” the air force chief explained.
Mr Abubakar also called for a deep focus on artificial intelligence to revolutionise how NAF processes data, analyses information and makes informed decisions in real-time during operations.
He said there should also be more efforts towards improving investment in state-of-the-art encryption and cybersecurity measures to secure NAF communications.
“I enjoin you to look towards the principles of network-centric warfare, which comprises the ability to share data, collaborate seamlessly and coordinate operations across multiple platforms,” added Mr Abubakar. “This would enable us to build a robust, interoperable network that connects all branches of the military and our allied partners.”
NAF chief of communication information systems, AVM Ibikunle Daramola, said the CIS conference aimed to deliver innovative technology-based solutions to accomplish NAF missions.
Mr Daramola said the resolution of the current security challenges in the country required innovative solutions using emerging CIS technologies, which could be applied on land, sea, airspace and cyber domains.
He said the core derivative of the conference was to improve the capacity of CIS personnel and reinvigorate existing procedures to enhance NAF’s operational effectiveness.
The communication officer urged the participants to develop actionable solutions that would add value to the collective efforts of securing Nigeria.