Airbus Helicopters and Denel Aviation have announced their intention to cooperate on a programme to enhance and modernise the Rooivalk attack helicopter.
The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the biennial African Aerospace & Defence show at Air Force Base Waterkloof this week, in which they agreed to cooperate on a phased programme of enhancements for the Rooivalk helicopter.
The programme first aims to improving the supportability of the current fleet of the combat-proven Rooivalk Mk1 helicopters focusing on reliability and updating obsolete items, the two companies said. Work done during this phase of the upgrade will be utilised for future developments of the Rooivalk. The current Rooivalk fleet already utilises Airbus Helicopters technologies for the vital helicopter dynamic components (engines and gearbox components).
“As part of the Rooivalk roadmap we developed, we will launch a market assessment and feasibility study into a modernised version of the Rooivalk incorporating enhanced operational capabilities. Our ultimate objective is to offer a South African product which will provide an attractive solution for potential export customers around the world,” said Mike Kgobe, CEO of Denel Aviation.
Airbus Helicopters’ Senior Vice President, Olivier Lambert, said the collaboration “showed both parties’ willingness to strengthen and deepen their relationship with a view to establishing a long-term strategic cooperative partnership”.
The MoU also sets out a proposed action plan to be followed with the approval of the South African Government.
One of the Rooivalk helicopters on display at Africa Aerospace and Defence has been fitted with an Airbus Defence and Space Optronics Argos II airborne observation system.