Milkor showcases South Africa defence technology on the global stage at WDS 2024


Milkor has once again showcased cutting edge South African aerospace and defence technology to the world, displaying its Milkor 380 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) alongside a tactical ground control station at the World Defence Show (WDS) in Saudi Arabia.

“The significance of Milkor’s presence at WDS goes beyond mere exhibition. With a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia, Milkor is committed to delivering robust and quality solutions to meet the Kingdom’s growing defence needs in alignment with Vision2030,” said Marthinus de Beer, CEO of Milkor’s Saudi subsidiary, Milkor Industries LLC.

He emphasised the importance of this participation, stating, “Our presence at WDS illustrates our advanced capabilities as a company and signifies that South Africa’s defence technology continues to evolve and thrive.”

Milkor recently received a Saudi Arabia manufacturing permit that allows the company to assemble and produce aircraft in country, in the event an acquisition goes ahead – it is in talks with Saudi Arabian officials regarding UAV procurement.

At WDS 2024 this week, the Milkor 380 on display featured a varied weapons load, including an Al Tariq-X guided bomb and Desert Sting 25 glide weapons. Payload is up to 400 kg under the fuselage and 230 kg under each wing. Powered by a turbocharged piston engine, the aircraft has a maximum endurance of 35 hours and a range of more than 2 000 km. The Milkor 380 is the largest UAV to be produced in Africa.

During WDS 2024, Milkor organised a ceremonial shield-giving event for the South African delegation, symbolising the company’s steadfast presence both locally and internationally. Reflecting on this gesture, de Beer explained, “The shield ceremony represents Milkor’s commitment to being a reliable presence in the defence sector, which contributes significantly to both countries’ economies. We are dedicated to playing a vital role in this ecosystem.”

Armand Bodenstein, Business Development Director of Milkor, underscored the significance of the growing trade and cooperation between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, particularly in the defence industry.

“The evolving partnership between South Africa and Saudi Arabia holds immense potential for the defence sector,” Bodenstein remarked. “The mutual support and exchange of technologies between the two nations not only enhance capabilities but also generate a substantial number of job opportunities, contributing to the long-term economic growth of both countries.”

Milkor said its dedication to supporting the South African defence industry is further underscored by its role as the diamond sponsor for the upcoming Africa Aerospace & Defence exhibition, the largest defence event in Africa. “This sponsorship not only highlights Milkor’s commitment to promoting South African defence technology but also showcases its leadership within the industry,” the company said of the September event to be held in Pretoria.

“Milkor’s proactive participation in global defence exhibitions and its commitment to showcasing South African defence technology highlight the company’s position as a key player in the international defence arena. As it continues to innovate and collaborate on a global scale, Milkor remains at the forefront of representing South Africa’s technological prowess in defence,” the company concluded.

Building on its reputation as the original manufacturer of the now widely popular 40 mm multiple grenade launcher, Milkor has become a specialist in the fields of UAVs, armoured land vehicles, and naval vessels. Its diverse product portfolio now ranges from single shot and six-shot grenade launchers to armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles, the Milkor IPC (Inshore Patrol Craft) and Milkor 4×4 Armoured Personnel Carrier.