R/€ = 15.30
R/$ = 14.48
Au 1065.44 $/oz
Pt 831.50 $/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)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
Other Defence News
The establishment of State-owned aerospace and defence technology company Denel’s new Integrated Systems and Maritime division (DISM) will strengthen the company’s position as a high-end technology powerhouse and expand the range of products and services it now...
MOH-9 Armour Ceramics, a division of Multotec Wear Linings, part of the Multotec Group, launched its 99% alumina oxide ceramic (Al2O3) in December, available as both monolithic body armour and vehicle armour tiles. Owing to its improved hardness, lighter weight...
Aerospace and defence company Denel’s latest air-to-air missile, the A-Darter, passed critical in-flight guided tests late last year and production on this fifth-generation missile system is expected to start before the end of 2015. Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee says the...
Updated 3 hours ago The tide has turned for South African ports and the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is pressing ahead with its investment under Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS) notwithstanding poor economic growth. TNPA CEO Richard Vallihu told a TPA...
Updated 3 hours ago A 7 500 m2 rooftop solar system has been installed on several buildings at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town. The powering of several buildings on the iconic property will result in an estimated 1 640 000 kWh/y of clean energy. So far, 900 kW have been successfully...
Updated 3 hours ago The 865 km gas pipeline from the central processing facility (CPF) in Temane, Mozambique, to Secunda, South Africa, is to undergo a further $210-million expansion, the Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investments Company (Rompco) confirmed on Monday. Rompco is a joint...
Recent Research Reports
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...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...