Agustas to be weaponised


The South African Air Force has awarded Unionlet Ltd a R398 218,34 contract to procure, on its behalf kits to convert four Fabrique National 7.62m MAG machine guns from the Model MAG 58 infantry type to Model MAG 58m mounting type for mounting on the Agusta A109 light utility helicopter.

Unionlet is a comparatively small arms broker based in west London and is southern African gent for a number of defence manufacturers. Britain’s Guardian newspaper says Unionlet is co-owned by managing director Mark Ranger and his father. Ranger was previously with the UK Defence Export Services Organisation. South Africa has purchased assorted FN and Heckler & Koch small arms and spares via Unionlet since at least 2006.

South Africa bought 30 AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopters for R2.451 billion under Project Flange as part of the 1999 strategic defence package (SDP). They are currently unarmed. The kits will allow a crewman to put down suppressive fire when landing or recovering troops. Similar kits are fitted to the Denel Oryx medium utility helicopter and the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 Mk64 maritime helicopters from time to time.