Denel and Russian Helicopters today signed an agreement to create a helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul hub in Africa. The agreement was signed at the seventh Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (AAD) at Air Force Base Waterkloof.
Denel Aviation, a division of Denel, is now the only company in sub-Saharan Africa accredited to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for models produced by Russian Helicopters.
Riaz Saloojee, the Chief Executive of Denel, said that the agreement will significantly expand the company’s business in Africa and strengthen its position as the premier provider of MRO services on the continent.
“Our objective is to become the maintenance hub for most of the modern commercial and military aircraft operating in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Kgobe, CEO of Denel Aviation. “The agreement represents the culmination of a long-standing partnership between the two companies.”
“Our knowledge of Africa…makes us the partner of choice,” Kgobe said. He added that the MRO agreement was an example of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) cooperation.
Civil aviation is a high-growth market in Africa, and Russian Helicopters is well positioned to be a market leader on the continent for years to come, said Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov.
“We see great potential for our helicopters in countries across Africa, and are delighted to be working with Denel Aviation to provide a complete customer care programme for our clients on the continent,” Petrov said.
MRO accreditation includes a lengthy process of training and auditing of skills, equipment and facilities. From October, Denel Aviation technical staff will attend an intensive training programme on the latest Russian Helicopters technology and procedures in the eastern Siberian city of Novosibirsk.
Teams of Denel Aviation engineers and technicians can be deployed at short notice to perform emergency repair work on helicopters across the continent. For deeper-level MRO work, the aircraft can be transported to the company’s facilities, located by the O R Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, South Africa.
“Our knowledge of the African geography and climatic conditions and the track record of our products that have been extensively deployed in operational conditions, make us a logical partner of choice to the military and civilian markets on the continent,” Kgobe said.
There are an estimated 280 Mi-brand helicopters flying today in African countries.
Russian Helicopters has been sole vendor of Russian-built civilian helicopters to foreign clients since consolidation of the country’s helicopter manufacturing sector was completed in 2010. At Africa Aerospace and Defence, Russian Helicopters is showcasing a diverse line-up of civil and military helicopters (the latter jointly with its parent company, state defence holding Oboronprom).