The CSIR and Denel have joined forces to expand collaboration in research and technology projects, including joint product development.
A just signed memorandum of understanding between the two will form the basis for “a closer technology alliance”.
Denel Group chief executive Riaz Saloojee said the agreement provides a framework for deeper collaboration on research and development which should benefit the development of future advanced manufacturing technologies.
“The CSIR is the leading technology research organisation in Africa with a global reputation for the quality of its R&D. By joining forces we will ensure the local defence and aerospace industry remains at the leading edge of international trends and developments.”
The partnership also fits into Denel’s strategic intention to be a driver of innovation in technology and to partner with other companies and organisations to build these capabilities locally.
CSIR chief executive Dr Sibusiso Sibisi said Denel’s role as a designer and manufacturer of world-class aerospace defence and security products made it a natural technology partner for the organisation.
“We are delighted to extend our long-term relationship with Denel and to jointly move into new areas that will contribute to South Africa’s broader objectives regarding innovation, skills development and technology transfer.”
The CSIR’s multidisciplinary R&D expertise enables it to combine a diverse range of skills to provide comprehensive innovation solutions. “Ultimately, our work promotes scientific development and stimulates industrial growth for the betterment of our society and economy. We pursue these goals in partnership with other public and private sector institutions,” Sibisi said.
In terms of the agreement, the two organisations will work together on a wide range of projects including exploring further collaboration in advanced manufacturing, systems engineering, modelling and simulation, unmanned systems, space engineering and protected landward mobility and firepower.
Bilateral committees will be established to execute projects with a joint steering group overseeing issues relating to market intelligence and intellectual property. One of the partnership’s intentions is to collaborate in international markets through joint marketing of skills and products.
Saloojee said the partnership will involve all Denel divisions in the aerospace, landward defence, missile and unmanned aerial vehicle sectors. In the last financial year, total R&D funding in Denel amounted to R528 million and the group intends to increase R&D spend significantly through its innovation drive.
“Working with the CSIR we will be pooling resources and sharing existing information and the vast experience that already exists within these two organisations.”
Although Denel specialises in defence and aerospace products and solutions many of its research projects benefit broader society and South Africa’s developmental objectives in terms of job creation and skills development.
Spin-off technology from defence industry research is contributing to efforts to combat rhino poaching and drug smuggling; to support border control and nature conservation projects; to improve efficiencies in the mining industry, nuclear energy, electric vehicle design and South Africa’s emerging space industry.