Modise foresees global engagement for South Africa’s defence industry at AAD 2024

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Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise maintains a thriving and technologically enhanced South African defence industry (SADI) is an important component of the national defence effort particularly in view of “peacekeeping efforts in strife torn regions on the African continent”.

In a foreword to the first African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) newsletter for the 2024 exhibition – the second one she oversees with 2020 cancelled because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic – Modise infers a strong defence industry in South Africa “should be viewed from the perspective of the country’s defence capabilities” and the leading role of the Department of Defence (DoD).

She sees AAD 2024 – the 12th edition – as the largest and only defence show in Africa as a platform to showcase South Africa’s “sophisticated and technological innovations”. Additionally, according to her, South Africa has over the years developed highly rated defence capabilities which compare favourably with first world defence industries.

Come 18 September, when Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof opens its gates for the first trade day of AAD 2024, Modise’s expectations are a global audience will descend on the Centurion base billed as the SA Air Force (SAAF) centre of transport excellence. The event, according to her, will promote collaboration, boost the economy and create short term employment.

She urges the South African Defence Industry to use AAD 2024 to establish and build links with international defence groups and foreign defence companies to “keep abreast of what they are doing and learning and how they are working to meet evolving threats and challenges”.

New to AAD this time around will be specific hubs for energy, general aviation (GA) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and technology to defeat them.

“We invite the South African defence and commercial sectors, government, business, young people in particular and the public to join us at this prestigious event and celebrate not only the 30 years of the existence of the South African National Defence Force but to experience the new technologies that will be on display at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2024,” Modise concluded.

The organisers expect over 300 global exhibitors and 30 000 trade visitors to attend AAD 2024, as well as 60 000 public visitors to come to the air show days on the weekend.

This year’s theme is ‘Exploring New Paths, Sharing Solutions, Showcasing Innovation and Capability.’ Towards the goal, conferences and seminars will be taking place during the trade show days from 18 to 20 September, looking at topics like cybersecurity, unmanned aerial vehicles, future warfare, and more.