|Artist depiction of the DEMFAS Aerosystems UCAV|
In an exclusive interview with Military Africa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Fasasi Dayo of DEMFAS Aerosystems Nigeria spoke about the company’s prospects and activities.
The Defense technological sector in Nigeria is still fledgling and underdeveloped. The major players being DICON, Proforce and now DEMFAS Aerosystems.
With the current drive to buy “Made-in-Nigerian” defense products, the Nigerian government rejuvenated its premier defense industry (DICON) and other agencies both government-owned and private organizations saw the market potential and took the mantle. Such endeavors brought about the development of world-class defense systems like the Proforce ARA MRAP, the Tsaigumi Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) and NNS Karaduwa
About DEMFAS Aerosystems
Demfas Aerosystems is a Nigerian telecommunication equipment manufacturer. Although, we deal in Telecommunication equipment our expertise isn’t limited to that. We are also into the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Demfas Aerosystems as an organization gives priority to providing technological solutions needed to influence development in Nigeria and beyond.
We focus on innovative cutting edge technological capabilities, we will be providing technological solutions needed for the progress of the country both in military and civilian applications and this would be done by Nigerians.
About the CEO
I am Fasasi Tosin, an indigene of Oyo state. I am an Aerospace engineering student and I love meditating. Demfas Aerosystems was formed after huge progress made from my self-researched projects.
Actually, the project was to design an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and during the whole process, I visited some facilities in China to conduct some tests on my designs, unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the design test cost.
Undaunted, I decided on what I could do with the knowledge acquired during the course of my research so that is what led to the birth of our radio communication systems. I learned a lot from school but less than twenty percent of my academic knowledge was implemented on Demfas Aerosystems’ products.
During the course of my research, I learned C programming and every single aspect needed to bring the radio communication system and RF jamming device into reality. The mission is simple and great. There are several Nigerians out there with the little opportunity that I have. I have been able to get some of them onboard into Demfas Aerosystems where some are also working on the UAV development. So the plan is to create an arena whereby Nigerians are the ones providing innovative and cutting edge solutions out there to the world.
The changing technological domain in Africa has forced DEMFAS Aerosystems to innovate and adapt.
What is the current situation at DEMFAS Aerosystems?
The current state of the company is that we are making huge progress. We are working on having a facility here in Nigeria. That is the main thing for now as lack of our own manufacturing facility has slowed down how we work. The facility will house both the UAV production line, our telecom manufacturing sector. Everyone working on the team is all Nigerians and this is an evidence that there are Nigerians who can handle any aspect of developing defense technological systems, Robotics and others. I think with a good international presence and over 100,000 orders coming from foreign nations. I guess this talk a lot about our brand and standard.
Could you speak on some of the products and services DEMFAS Aerosystems offers?
At Demfas Aerosystems, our products and services are being motivated by the way we see the World and Nigeria as a nation. As you can see, military technological solutions often birth civil technologies. Be it in spatial sensors, Aerospace, communications, robotics, artificial intelligence has very good importance with the military and its applications Is very wide in a civilian environment.
Our radio systems offer various capabilities in which some of the capabilities are not accessible to the ones being used by private individuals. The repeater systems also have such similar capabilities too. This will also be applicable to the drone in development. One of our specialist, a graduate of MIT also has Artificial Intelligence development in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle. However, this project is expected to be carried out with the Technical University Ibadan as Part of our plans to work jointly with Universities in Nigeria however, the Technical University, Ibadan would be our starting point.
An official letter has been sent to the school and once received and acknowledged, then work can resume. This development will be a good thing to help the Nigerian troops avoid and probe Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) effectively. The duration of the project is what I cannot say for now as a lot of sensors development is involved.
Some IED is just not noticed by military personnel but we hope to find a way to combat that in which some process in development by the team leader is to make use of Artificial Intelligence to probe Radio Frequency (RF) and thermal signature of the IED. So in essence, we put a lot of effort into research and look for where our products can provide needed solutions.
What did you start with?
Like I said earlier, we started with the drone and the technical skillset acquired during development was implemented in our radio communication system which ended up being our first product. Even with the acquired knowledge, a huge amount of money was spent on Research and Development (R&D). With design parameters changing and not being satisfied with results, I just had to keep doing everything to achieve a world-class standard
These would be designed and produced in Nigeria and its ‘tailor suit’ to meet the customer’s needs.
Could you, please speak about the new drones being developed by DEMFAS Aerosystems?
The drone development started in late 2016. The developmental process has been slow due to Lack of own facility and funding has been done by the company alone, however, more Nigerian Specialist just joined the team so we have been making good progress. We have purchased an Electro-Optical (EO) pod and we have concluded with the engine manufacturer on our requirements and parameters.
The design process has also been concluded and others will be done here in Nigeria including Airframe manufacturing. Our UAV is being designed to meet future requirements and perform excellently when compared to existing ones being used. I have seen people asking how are we going to achieve such progress so I will want you all to know we may be new but we have the experience and total technical skill set needed to make this a successful project.
We are currently developing two Prototypes:
1) Stealthy UCAV
2) Unarmed Drone
We are currently concentrating on performance and onboard avionics, sensors. As the plan is to make our products locally in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Air Force has some of the best Armament engineers in the country and it will be a good idea to bring them onboard. Demfas Aerosystems is working with some Nigerian sensor experts and engineers.
Have there been any potential customers?
Customers are not the issue for now. You know when you manufacture what people need, they
will buy it.To answer this section, I will say the marketing strategy involved will have that area covered as it has to do with government and defense purchase.
Do you plan to export outside Nigeria?
Once the drone is ready, we will find our way out there. The plan is really in place and everything is covered. Although, our communications products are receiving quite a large amount of interest from many potential clients.
How do you see DEMFAS Aerosystems evolving in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I can actually project a brighter future, more innovations/inventions, ideas and
Cutting edge products. In reality, I see a huge influence and impact in Nigeria technological sector through us. All other developments will be influenced by our hard work.
What is the most difficult moment in your career?
Funding assistance. In executing such a project like this, funding is necessary and I did not get the support I wanted. We developed into a company with the production of our radio communication systems. With the technology involved in the radio systems, we had serious issues with trying to make use of foreign components.
Seeking for government assistance, I was able to communicate with Mr. Dele Momodu (Chairman and CEO Ovation International) through him, I got an inquiry from the Nigerian Senate. We’re doing good now by which most of the problems faced have been self-solved. we’re in the era of success now.