Denel Aerostructures is ready and willing to support manufacture of a new Rooivalk, and is currently making drop tanks and small components for the existing fleet of 11 serving in the South African Air Force.
Theo Kleynhans, CEO of Denel Aerostructures (DAe), told defenceWeb that if South Africa continues to expand its peacekeeping missions in Africa, there may well be a growing role for the Rooivalk which has proven its operational effectiveness in that arena. Kleynhans confirmed that Denel is in discussions with the South African Air Force on the upgrading of the current Rooivalk baseline and the feasibility of a new Rooivalk Mk II development with an export component.
Kleynhans said that although Denel Aviation is the original equipment manufacturer of the Rooivalk, airframe design and production would typically take place at Denel Aerostructures. Denel is however looking for co-development and co-manufacturing with partner countries to further develop Rooivalk exportability.
In order to get ready for relaunched production, DAe would modify the existing jigs and use better, newer and more elegant ways to produce the aircraft and would move the blueprint drawings to CATIA software.
DAe is still producing drop tanks for the Rooivalk and other parts from time to time as needed such as brackets and other components – the company provides on-going Rooivalk engineering support with seven to eight people working on the programme.
Denel Aerostructures will manufacture ten drop tanks this year on new equipment with production ceasing at around 20. Kleynhans said drop tank production restarted in June last year.
The Rooivalk drop tank is 3.45 metres long, .64 metres in diameter, and has a fuel capacity of 550 litres. It weighs 51.5 kg empty and 496 kg full. The centre section is made of metal while the nose and tail section and being made from composite materials. Lightening protection was designed into the tank for all weather operation.