More hi-tech collaboration between SA and Brazil?


Collaboration programmes between South Africa and Brazil could be the basis for future contracts of a similar nature pending the completion of the A-Darter air-to-air missile contract, said Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Aloízio Mercadante during a visit to Denel Dynamics this week.

Denel Dynamics CE Jan Wessels says there is potential to collaborate further in the domain of guided missiles, aerospace, defence and high-technology in general. “A competitive, indigenous, guided missiles design and development capability serves a number of strategic objectives for South Africa and other advanced developing nations,” said Wessels. “It remains however a national decision (not only a commercial one) given the long-term nature of this investment and commitment.”

This discussion was an off-shoot to a high level IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) Dialogue Forum summit held in Pretoria this week. It included a Defence Industry seminar which was opened by Secretary for Defence Mpumi Mpofu, who Denel Dynamics in a statement said she addressed the “possibility of transcending beyond two country collaboration to exploring trilateral opportunities on defence projects.” She said that defence projects are complex by nature, becoming even more complicated when several partners are involved both within industry and between governments. “It is the intention of the three Ministries of Defence that we will establish an IBSA team to identify potential areas of co-operation and visit the defence industries of the three countries,” said Mpofu. The team would constitute members from each country, led by South Africa. It will report its findings to the trilateral forum after the first visit which is to take place in Brazil next year.

A business development team from Denel Dynamics is currently attending an annual defence conference in Brazil which is addressing national defence strategies for best practice and perspectives on transformation. “It is always challenging to be the pioneer,” says Wessels. “The South African industry applauds the guts and commitment leading to the brave first steps taken by the Brazilian and South African Ministries of Defence back in 2005/6.
“We are seeing the same bold approach in 2011 through IBSA.” From a South African industry perspective, he remarked upon the absolute synergy between the Brazilian and South African teams in terms of vision, work ethic and technical capability on the A-Darter project. “We look forward to expanding on this through more joint programmes,” said Wessels.