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SUPPORT SOLUTIONS MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA

PUBLISHED WITH CONSENT FROM SUPPORT SOLUTIONS. BY CELIA TURNER

As of January 2008 Saab Aerotech has successfully established operations in South Africa to support its customer base in the region and expand its capabilities. The move coincides with the delivery of the first Gripen Fighters to the South African Air Force (SAAF) this year. The new entity is branded Saab Aerotech in South Africa (SAT-SA) and is comprised of the former Saab Grintek Logtronics.

The two organisations have actually worked together successfully over many years. Andre Landsberg, General Manager of SAT-SA notes, “Becoming part of Saab Aerotech is a natural progression for us as we have a similar approach to business. At the same time, our South African customers have their own culture and we have excellent relationships, having worked with them extensively.”

SAT-SA occupies a niche position in the South African defence industry providing integrated logistics support services and electronic test systems for all three armed forces. With highly skilled employees at modern facilities in Centurion and Cape Town, including those deployed to the South African Navy’s principal base at Simon’s Town, SAT-SA is a strategic supplier to the South African defence procurement agency, Armscor.

It has supported the avionics equipment for all aircraft types operated by the SAAF, including the Rooivalk, Pilatus, Cheetah and C130, and is the accredited Thales support partner for the Multi- Function Displays (MFDs) on board the Hawk, C130 Hercules, Agusta 109 LUH, Pilatus and Rooivalk aircraft. It is one of the prime industry partners in the System Support Centre at the Simon’s Town naval dockyard, which is managed on a collaborative basis with Armscor and the South African Navy. Specialist maintenance services for the South African Army’s tactical communications equipment are provided at Centurion.

SAT-SA has won international recognition for the development of generic test equipment which can be utilised across different products, programmes and customers and achieve significant economies of scale. SAT-SA and Saab Aerotech in Sweden are currently working together on the development and delivery of the multi-purpose RSA48 Automatic Test Station (see article in December 2007 Support Solutions issue) which will test different types of equipment for the SAAF Gripen and could potentially be applied for maintaining other equipment operated by the SAAF, subject to OEM approvals.

Combining the capabilities of the established Saab Aerotech with the operations in South Africa provides a launch pad for expansion both within South Africa and into new markets. “We are very pleased to finally have operations here in South Africa,” says Lars Erik Wige, Business Unit Manager for Saab Aerotech, “being able to combine the established Saab Aerotech with the operations here, gives us major opportunities to expand in the support market.” South Africa’s competitive cost base and international relationships open the door for Saab Aerotech in new markets, such as India and Brazil.

SAT-SA plans to broaden its scope of work beyond electronics into aircraft ground support systems, battlefield management systems and mechanical components by drawing on the full capability of Saab Aerotech. The starting point for this growth will be Gripen, for which it will be managing all support activities for the whole aircraft through the Gripen Support Office.

SAT-SA is also strategically important to the Saab Group as a whole as it provides in-country support services to underpin the continued growth of sister companies operating in South Africa, which include Saab Avitronics and Saab
Systems.



 

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