Publication: Business Report Issued: Date: 2007-04-26 Reporter: Sapa

Denel Launches A-Darter Missile with R1bn Brazilian Deal



Business Report

Date 2007-04-26



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Johannesburg - A R1 billion missile deal had been signed between South Africa and Brazil, Denel said yesterday.

Spokesperson Joe Makhafola said that Denel Dynamics, the missile unit of the defence parastatal, had launched the latest generation of the A-Darter air-to-air missile scheme developed for the SA National Defence Force and the Brazilian air force.

"The co-development of the missile not only brings much-needed skills, training and technology transfer to the country, but reinforces the South-South co-operation initiated by President Thabo Mbeki and his counterpart," said Makhafola.

The deal was launched at the Latin American aerospace and defence exhibition, which ended on April 20 in Brazil.

"The A-Darter missile is vitally important to the aerospace cluster in equipping the aircraft of both air forces," said Makhafola. It would guarantee a credible deterrent for the South African Air Force, and would maintain and expand local capabilities in the field over the next 15 years.

He said the contract would have "a very positive spin-off" for local defence companies. "One of Denel's macro strategies is to secure privileged access to a guaranteed minimum portion of South Africa's defence development and procurement spend."

At least 200 engineers would be employed over the duration of the contract, with a focus on increasing the number of young engineers being attracted to Denel.

Makhafola said 10 Brazilian air force members had begun work on the programme at the Denel Dynamics plant. "They will be supplemented by a further 20 people from the Brazilian defence companies."

Export contracts worth another R2 billion were expected in the next 15 years.

Armscor had signed a contract on the co-development of the missile, he said.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Business Report.