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Apr 09, 2009

SA firm to participate in Brazilian Air Force acquisition competition

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Denel Dynamics is one of nine companies around the world that has received a Request for Information (RfI) from the Brazilian Air Force (abbreviated to FAB in Portuguese) regarding Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs).

This has been revealed in a communiqué issued by the head of the FAB’s public and media relations centre, Air Brigadier (equivalent to Major-General) Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez. He stated that the “Air Force Command, giving attention to operational necessities and in accordance with government policy of strengthening the national aeronautical industry, has initiated the process of acquiring a UAV”.

“The heart of this project consists of the acquisition of a UAV to establish a [UAV operational] doctrine in the Brazilian Air Force, [and] which will be used in reconaissance missions and as a communications relay platform,” he added, “and to capacitate the [Brazilian] aeronautical industry to develop a totally national UAV.”

The nine companies which received the RfI were chosen on the basis of the operational requirements established by the Air Force General Staff. Air Brig. Bermudez pointed out that the amount of offsets and the degree of technology transfer offered would be a focus in the acquisition process.

Denel Dynamics is a subsidiary company of the South African State-owned Denel defence industrial group, and designs and manufactures missiles and UAVs, although the group’s intention is to split it into two separate businesses – one focused on missiles, the other on UAVs.

Denel Dynamics currently produces the Skua high-speed target drone, which has been used with great success in Brazil, and the Seeker tactical UAV. The original Seeker is employed by the South African National Defence Force, while the improved Seeker II has been successfully exported. The latest version, now being offered by the company, is the considerably upgraded Seeker 400.

Denel Dynamics also has the Bateleur medium altitude, long endurance UAV project, which the company hoped that Brazil would join and help develop, along the lines of the joint South African-Brazilian development of the company’s A-Darter air-to-air missile. This could still happen, if Denel wins the competition.

But the competition is formidable. The other eight companies which received the FAB’s RfI include world UAV leaders Elbit and IAI of Israel and Boeing of the US, as well as Russia’s Irkut, Europe/Spain’s EADS-Casa, Italy’s Galileu Avionica, and two Brazilian companies, Avibras and Aeroeletrônica. Aeroeletrônica is, however, a subsidiary of Elbit, which might give the Israeli company an edge over the others.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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