R/€ = 12.99
R/$ = 12.08
Au 1186.35 $/oz
Pt 1139.50 $/oz
Jun 20, 2003
Defence electronics group winning global stripesBack
© Reuse this South African defence electronics company Avitronics, 51%-owned by Grintek and 49% by Saab, of Sweden, is certainly establishing itself as a global player in a highly competitive industry.
“What makes us unique is our very broad technological capability, from microwave to optics, analogue and digital, software, packaging, and production, which allows us to be far more flexible than our competitors and to make inte- grated systems,” says company MD Ben Ash.
“From the price-performance point of view, we’re the best on the market,” he asserts.
“For example, our ability to develop our own microwave systems allows us to customise our projects at a very low price,” he points out.
“Our multisensor warning system (MSWS) is the only fully-integrated such system in the world – all the others are federated, that is composed of systems and subsystems from a number of companies,” he reports.
The MSWS is designed for use in all categories of aircraft – rotary and fixed wing, combat and transport – and is a modular system that provides advanced electronic warfare self- protection, and warns the aircrew if their aircraft has been detected by radar, or laser systems, or if a missile is approaching them.
In production since 1997 and continuously upgraded, the MSWS has been, or is being, installed in the following aircraft – AgustaWestland A-109 and Super Lynx 300, BAE Systems Hawk 100, Denel Aviation Oryx and Rooivalk, Eurocopter Cougar, Puma and NH-90, and Lockheed Martin C-130B and C-130H Hercules.
“Another of our products that is unique is our miniaturised electronic surveillance payload for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs),” he adds.
The payload has a total mass of 16 kg, divided into a controller and an antenna array.
The payload on the UAV acquires and analyses radar emissions and then transfers this information via a datalink to a ground-based remote terminal for display.
The remote terminal also controls the system and the UAV.
“Our customers give us feedback on the operational performance of our systems, which allows us to update and upgrade them,” explains Ash.
“Even just participating in an evaluation by a potential customer teaches us a lot, whether or not our product is chosen,” he adds.
The company’s increasing success is marked by its growing roll of employees and backed by the company’s increasing in-house research and development (R&D) budget.
In June 1999 the company had 182 staff members and was overmanned.
It now has 385, including 66 new posts created this year, and the company plans to create a further 60 new jobs next year.
“About 60% to 70% of our people are highly skilled and around a quarter of our staff are involved in product development, some of which is funded by the customer, some by Saab and some internally by us,” reveals Ash.
“More and more, we’re doing our own funded R&D and we’re growing our joint R&D with Saab, which we fund together,” he elucidates.
The company has benefited significantly from both direct and indirect defence industrial participation (Dip) from South Africa’s strategic defence re-equipment programme.
“For example, it was cooperation with Saab through Dip that led to shared R&D and Saab’s taking nearly a half share of the company, and this, in turn, opened international markets to us,” says Ash.
“The relationship with Saab opened many minds to the fact that a South African company can produce high-quality advanced technology products,” he explains.
The company won a contract with the Swiss Air Force for its helicopter self-protection system as a direct result of its part-ownership by Saab.
Indirect Dip has also brought Avitronics orders from Greece, South Korea, Sweden and an undisclosed customer for the Super Lynx 300.
Ash is “pretty bullish” about the company’s future.
“We have a growth strategy for the next five years and I expect we’ll more than double in size in terms of both volume and people,” he concludes.
Edited by: Keith Campbell© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Defence News
JSE-listed communications and defence antenna manufacturer Poynting’s interim results for the period ended December 31, 2014, show that the company has increased turnover for continuing operations by 101% after disposing of its loss-making segments. It posted profits...
Recently established Denel Integrated Systems and Management (Denel ISM) has formed an alliance with GEW Technologies, a South African subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, part of Europe’s Airbus group. The alliance is intended to pursue future electronic warfare...
No fewer that three of the development projects being carried out by local missile, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and satellite company Denel Dynamics (part of the State-owned Denel group) are coming to an end and being transformed into industrialisation and...
Updated 10 minutes ago Toll tariffs for the proposed N1 and N2 Winelands toll roads in the Western Cape have not been set, the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) said on Wednesday. These tariffs will only be set by the minister of transport once the competitive bidding process...
Updated 11 minutes ago One key component of the South African government’s current economic policy relates to encouraging economic growth and fostering job creation through promoting the procurement of locally produced goods and services. But supporters of the policy believe a shift in the...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Projected capital expenditure (capex) in the South African automotive assembly industry should reach a record R7.48-billion this year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its 2014 fourth quarter business review. Capex...
After several years of navigating project-threatening red tape and currency fluctuations, the 4.4 MW Bronkhorstspruit biogas power plant, which will supply clean energy to a leading automotive manufacturer in Gauteng, is expected to enter production before June....
South African paper and pulp producer Sappi reported earlier this month that it would build a pilot plant for the production of low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.
The long-term outlook for Nigeria is a country that has the potential to be very strong. So affirmed International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative Dr Gene Leon on recently. "But we are starting from a point of huge...
Poor infrastructure planning and inadequate maintenance are becoming increasingly problematic for new developments and the associated infrastructure required to support such developments. In many urban and rural municipalities, the state of infrastructure has been...