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DENEL AVIATION RECEIVES LOCKHEED MARTIN ACCREDITATION


By Maj James du Toit, Editor AD ASTRA Magazine

After a process that started some years ago Denel Aviation in South Africa has now been accredited as the ninth Lockheed Martin Service Centre in the world for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of C-130 transport aircraft. This process was formally officiated on 19 March 2009 in Waterkloof Ridge – Tshwane, when Lockheed Martin handed over the certificate of approved C130 MRO to Denel Aviation.

Although Denel Aviation had been supporting the SAAF’s fleet of Hercules C-130 aircraft for decades, this formal accreditation opens the way to a much bigger market. Currently with no other official Lockheed Martin C-130 accredited service centre in Africa, both Lockheed Martin and Denel Aviation saw the benefits of establishing the service centre at Denel Aviation to serve the African market.

“With some 140 of these aircraft (C-130 and its L100 civil version) in Africa, there is ample opportunity for Denel Aviation,” explains Denel Aviation CEO Mr Ismail Dockrat. “What we see today is the result of an earlier strategy to align Denel Aviation with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) related to our product services. For us to be a recognised C-130 MRO facility, Denel Aviation simply needed to obtain Lockheed Martin accreditation.”


FLTR : Mr Tom Wetherall (Lockheed Martin), Mr Ismail Dockrat (CEO Denel Aviation),
 Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano (CAF), and Mr Jim Jameson (Lockheed Martin)

The process started as far back as March 2007 when Lockheed Martin performed a site survey of Denel Aviation’s MRO facilities adjacent to OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg. The US firm audited all Denel’s maintenance and support facilities, after which Denel submitted a C-130 business case.

This now enables Denel Aviation to support all other C-130B models through C-130H model operators outside the SAAF, of which 14 are in Africa out of a global tally of 61 countries.

“As we have been working hard to achieve this status, I am exceptionally pleased that our company can now expand its activities into Africa and beyond,” Mr Dockrat said. “With more than 40 years’ experience of aircraft maintenance and support, we know that Denel Aviation can give customers the best.”

Chief of the Air Force (CAF), Lt Gen Gagiano said: “The SAAF feels threatened with the current A400M programme being delayed – we need a strategic airlift capability”. Though the SAAF has lost a lot of skilled personnel, “we need collaboration with SAA to train some Reserve Force pilots, and we need to join Denel with new partnerships. The next step for the SAAF will be the implementation of the Centurion Aviation Village on the southeastern side of the Waterkloof airbase, where a part is allocated to Civil Aviation Industry, with access to the Waterkloof runways. This joined training facility will ensure aviation effectiveness”, CAF said.

CAF stated with the C130, being one of the SAAF’s most versatile aircraft, Lockheed Martin proved for the best-maintained wings with an excellent safety record after recent years’ corrosion problems the SAAF experienced. With the new accreditation, it will ensure just that little more oomph to the SAAF's fleet of C130’s.

General Gagiano concluded by congratulating Denel Aviation with their accreditation certificate and wishing for a long and healthy relationship.

Through this all the South African Air Force (SAAF) wishes to pay tribute to Denel Aviation for their 47 years of support to the SAAF’s Hercules C130 fleet.

More about Denel Aviation

Denel Aviation is primarily a military maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company. As a strategic partner to the South African Air Force (SAAF), the company has supported its fleet for more than 40 years. In recent years it expanded its activities to give MRO support to local and foreign clients on a wide range of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

In the past year Denel Aviation was successful in being awarded Phase 2 of a SAAF contract for the avionics and navigation system upgrade of the Oryx medium transport helicopter fleet. The contract, running over a period of four years, will extend the service life of this critical aircraft system for at least another 15 years.

In 2007 Denel Aviation received Eurocopter accreditation as a MRO centre, which provides for maintenance and repair of Puma and Alouette helicopters, as well as for the mechanical and dynamic components on the Oryx and Rooivalk fleets. Denel Aviation recently also completed the Hawk final assembly with delivery of the last of these new trainer aircraft to the SAAF.

 

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