R/€ = 18.11
R/$ = 16.01
Au 1212.05 $/oz
Pt 934.50 $/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
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Other Construction News
Updated 17 minutes ago JSE-listed Accentuate on Thursday renewed its cautionary after confirming suspicions of alleged fraudulent activities at one of its subsidiaries. While investigations were still ongoing into “suspicious activities” at subsidiary Floorworx Africa, Accentuate assured...
Updated 28 minutes ago The rand weakened slightly to R15.92 at 09:55 ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation speech on Thursday, which will be watched closely by local investors hoping for a sign that the country can stave off a credit rating downgrade to “junk status”. “While...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
This Week's Magazine
Power and automation company ABB is in the launch phase of its highest payload, multipurpose industrial robot, the IRB 8700. The robot has a reach of 3.5 m and can handle a payload of up to 800 kg. “When designing the IRB 8700, we emphasised reach and payload, as...
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a critical facet of a connected security ecosystem, as controlling the confidentiality, integrity and authorisation of data access and use is key to securing new digital business channels. However, companies face several...
Data underpins digital business models, the digital economy, the Internet of Things and the fundamental changes in the ways people interact and protecting data is crucial to securing new ways of doing business, says T-Systems South Africa information and...
The City of Cape Town will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for its MyCiTi service, in line with the council’s commitment to lower its carbon footprint, says executive mayor Patricia de Lille. The tender, to be advertised early in February, will...
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority signed a R10-million contract last month with local tailings storage facility specialists Cyclone Engineering Projects to remove about 100 000 m3 of dredge spoil obstructing the natural course of the uMfolozi river, in...