Russia proposes to South Africa industrial cooperation in defense sphere

© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

PRETORIA, September 13. /TASS/. The Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) has for the first time proposes South Africa to engage in joint industrial research in the defense sphere.

“South Africa has a major industrial potential while Russia can offer a lot in the sphere of defense, security and law enforcement. We proposed long-term hi-tech cooperation,” FSVTS Deputy Director Anatoly Punchuk told Tass on Tuesday after the first bilateral seminar held on the eve of the biggest Africa Aerospace & Defense (AAD-2016) show.

The seminar was attended by over a hundred experts from both countries who discussed organizational and legal aspects of military-technical cooperation between Russia and South Africa, business specifics in each country, copyright protection and other issues.

“We discussed what to begin with, i.e. various models of industrial cooperation, including financial aspects. We have high-tech platforms which can be integrated with existing South African systems or maybe even with future jointly created new technologies,” Punchuk said.

Russian exerts at the seminar stressed that technological platforms of the T-72 tank have not been surpassed and that in aircraft, air and missile defense technologies Russia “is in the first line”.

South African experts demonstrated big interest in Russian helicopters, coast guard ships and armor. Secretary of Defense Sam Gulube said his team was “enthusiastic and interested” in industrial cooperation with Russia but stressed no contracts could be expected overnight.

“As leaders we have to give a start to the process so that our people deal with specific issues. It is like marriage. When you meet a beautiful girl at a party you do not marry her the next day but ask her telephone number. This is a networking seminar that will yield result with time,” he said.

The seminar was followed by a meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation. On the sidelines of AAD-2016 Punchuk is scheduled to meet South African Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.


Russia to export helicopters to four African countries in 2016-2017

Mil Mi-35M helicopter (archive)

Mil Mi-35M helicopter (archive)

© Ladislav Karpov/TASS

PRETORIA, September 14. /TASS/. In 2016-2017, Russia will export the Mil Mi-8/17 and Mi-24/35 helicopters to Angola, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan, said Yury Demchenko, the head of the delegation for Russia’s arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, to the Africa Aerospace & Defense Expo, which opened in the South African Republic on Wednesday.

Demchenko pointed out that helicopters remained one of the most sought-after types of military hardware in Africa. In 2014-2016, Russian-made helicopters were exported to Angola, Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.

“In 2016-2017, we plan to continue exporting these helicopters to Angola, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria. Our position in the African helicopter market is solid, so we are optimistic about the prospects of cultivating it further,” the delegation chief added.

Russian weapons export to Africa keeps growing

According to the official, Russia’s military-technical cooperation with the African countries has been steady on the ascent for the past few years and a number of African countries have already joined the list of Russia’s main trading partners.

“By and large the share of Africa in the world export of weapons is relatively small. For instance sub-Saharan Africa accounts for about two percent, but the statistics of Russian weapons sales by Rosoboronexport in Africa showed steady growth for several years. A similar situation can be observed in northern Africa, where a number of countries in recent years considerably built up purchases of Russian weapons to have entered the list of our main partners in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” Demchenko said.

He believes that the African market is very promising for Russia and shows steady growth. To a certain extent this is a result of soaring threats from terrorists and pirates, as well as such problems as drug trafficking and illegal production of hydrocarbons and seafood, he explained.

“Besides, African states have been building up their participation in regional and international peacekeeping missions,” he recalled.

The weapons show in South Africa, which is being held on September 14-18, is the largest in Africa. According to the organizers, nearly 400 companies from 43 countries are taking part. According to earlier reports, the Russian delegation plans meetings with delegates from more than 25 countries in Africa, as well as delegations from a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.