Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula officially declared the 2016 edition of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition 2016 open at Air Force Base Waterkloof this morning, noting that it had attracted more than 440 exhibitors from 34 countries
She said that 95 display aircraft were also attending AAD 2016, which is the ninth edition of the largest land, sea and air exhibition on the African continent.
“True to the theme for this edition of ‘Unleashing Africa’s Defence and Aerospace potential’ – we have, for the first time, been honoured by the establishment of an African (Union) Pavilion. In this no less than six of our continental partner nations are exclusively exhibiting.
“As government we have moved towards a closer relationship between the Department of Defence and defence industries to ensure greater support and synchrony between the State and Private sector.
“In March this year we successfully launched our National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) as prescribed by the Defence Review of 2015…to this end, the role of Armscor – in collaboration with organised industry, both public and private – cannot be overemphasised.
“It is with pride that the South African defence industries has been amongst the best and in the forefront of producing innovative products, some of which have drawn the eyes of big defence industry players across the globe. We are encouraged by the achievements of AAD to showcase the indigenous technologies of the region.
“It is pleasing to note the upsurge of international interest in our defence industries and for them to participate and exhibit in the AAD. This augurs well for our economy
“As we celebrate the appointment of Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi as the Force Commander for MONUSCO as well as the successes that have been attained by our Rooivalk Attack Helicopter in that mission, we cannot rest on our laurels. It is that we are already engaged in processes of upgrading this platform. For this purposes, and in line with the global trend of collaborative defence programs, we are willing to engage with like-minded partner nations in the areas of risk sharing co-development and co-production as we upgrade the Rooivalk platform.
“In closing, we are grateful that all of you sitting here have honoured us with your presence at this exhibition and we have done all we can to ensure that it is as productive to you as we know it will be for us. We hope that you will have time to enjoy the best that our capital city, the province and country has to offer,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
After officially declaring AAD open, four Gripen fighter jets performed a display for the crowd as well as four Silver Falcons.