The South African aerospace and defence industry is a growth point for employment, innovation and revenue
The South African aerospace and defence industry will be putting its best foot forward at the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012 (AAD2012) exhibition, taking place from 19 – 23 September 2012 at Air Force Base Waterkloof. Military hardware and technology will be on display to impress local and international trade visitors, and to give members of the general public the opportunity to view the achievements of manufacturers from South Africa and abroad.
“The South African defence industry contributes more than R12 billion in turnover annually, with just over half of this attributable to high value added export contracts,” says Simphiwe Hamilton, the Executive Director of Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD). “This impacts positively on the country’s balance of payments and foreign reserves and it further positions the industry as a sector with one of the highest export propensity in South Africa.”
The defence industry also contributes significantly to employment and skills development in South Africa, and employs more than 15 000 highly qualified and experienced technical personnel. “The industry has nurtured engineers, technicians and artisans, with most of these contributing handsomely in transport, construction, space and power generation projects,” says Hamilton. “Global aerospace studies reveal that this sector has a multiplier effect of four – which means that for every job in this sector, there are at least four downstream jobs that are created or supported.”
The aerospace and defence industry has also taken a conscious decision to continue to support the Youth Development Programme (YDP) of AAD2012 as it has done with other YDP Programmes in the previous Exhibitions.
“This programme exposes young people to possible careers within the defence and aerospace sector,” says Hamilton. “It is only through skills development of young people that South Africa can have a sustainable industrial capability.”
Approximately R1billion is invested in research and development in the South African defence industry each year, but in many cases, the technology that emerges from this has found its way into civilian life. Civilian sectors that have benefited from military technology include railways, crime prevention, and mining safety and productivity – not to mention astronomy projects such as the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which has recently been awarded to South Africa and to which this sector will continue to contribute.
From a practical point of view, the skills and equipment developed by the South African defence industry are used in applications well beyond their primary task of defending the country from potential aggressors. Defence personnel and technology are currently involved with demining activities in Angola, the DRC, Mozambique and Sudan, the military was key in rescue operations in flooding in Mozambique and Tanzania, and is often called on by other countries in the SADC region to assist with search and recovery in various disaster situations.
“Some of the industry’s most groundbreaking and technologically advanced equipment will be on display at AAD2012,” says Hamilton. “Industry experts will also be on hand to explain the contribution of the industry to the work that the military does, and the difference it makes in the daily lives of South Africans. There will be static display and exciting demonstrations that will show the full scope of what the South African defence industry has achieved, both in creating products that are globally sought after, and in presenting solutions to the challenges that citizens experience every day.”
For more information about AAD2012, please visit www.aadexpo.co.za.
About Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD)
Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) is one of the world´s premier aerospace and defence events and holds a prominent position within the aviation and defence calendar. The exhibition takes place on a biennial basis in September. The first three days of the exhibition are traditionally trade days, followed by two Air Show days that are open to the public.
Proudly hosted in the City of Tshwane, the 7th instalment of AAD will take place at AFB Waterkloof, Centurion, City of Tshwane, South Africa from 19 to 23 September 2012, and will once again bring together worldwide industry players to showcase the latest technological innovations.
AAD is the largest exhibition of air, sea and land capabilities on the African continent, is jointly hosted and presented by by the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), the Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association of South Africa (AMD) and the Armament Corporation of South Africa (Amscor). Substantial support is also received from National Government and the cooperation of the Department of Defence as well as the Department of Trade and Industry is crucial for its success. For more information, visit www.aadexpo.co.za.
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