Denel, simulation provider CAE and South African services company Elisa have plans to set up a simulation-based training facility in South Africa.
The three companies on Thursday announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a South Africa National Training and Simulation Centre (SANTSC) that will offer pilot and technical training for military and commercial aviation as well as emergency and disaster management training.
The envisaged phase one of the multi-phase project is the upgrade of the facilities at Denel Technical Academy in Kempton Park. The facility will be equipped with modern synthetic technical training solutions for computer-based learning in Avionics, Aero Structures and Propulsion disciplines.
It is expected that future phases of the project will see the SANTSC facility equipped with state-of-the-art flight simulators to expand the offering to include pilot training programmes, as well as establishing training programmes based on modelling and simulation tools to support other market segments such as emergency and disaster management, Denel said.
The CEO of Denel Aviation, Mike Kgobe, said the envisaged SANTSC will contribute to the transformation of the South African aviation industry, retention of skills and the empowerment of women and youth from the disadvantaged community.
“There is a mammoth demand for the training of pilots and other professional skills in the aviation sector, both within South Africa and on the rest of the continent,” he said. Figures released during the recent US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington shows that the African aviation sector needs to train some 3,600 skilled people on an annual basis.
The rapid growth in the African aviation industry will see the imminent delivery of 1,800 new aircraft to meet the continent’s economic growth demands. The establishment of a US$ 100-billion US-Africa Infrastructure Development Fund will further support industrialisation in Africa and regional integration, Denel noted.
“CAE is a recognized global leader in modelling, simulation and training for the civil aviation and defence, and the collaboration with CAE and Elisa will make for a powerful alliance with enormous potential to provide the economic impetus to regional aviation sector capacitation required to underpin the targeted economic grow expectations,” Denel said.
“We are proud to establish the beginning of a partnership with Denel, a leading South African state owned company,” said Ian Bell, CAE’s Vice President and General Manager, Europe and Africa. “Our simulation-based technologies and proven learning methodologies can help provide the foundation for high-quality training that ultimately enhances the safety, security, and efficiency of professionals operating in mission-critical environments such as aviation and defence.”
Bell said the simulation centre would cater to the South African Air Force, South African Airways and South African Express, amongst others, for a consolidated training centre. He added that he hoped to draw in other African customers into what would be the first such training centre in Africa. Bell noted that the SAA and SAX fleet replenishment programmes are one of the drivers of the need for a national training centre.