SA promoting defence wares in Brazil

A raft of South African defence companies, including Denel and grenade launcher manufacturer Milkor are promoting their products at the Latin America Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) exhibition that wraps up today.
The event has been ongoing sin Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, since Monday. The SABC reports SA is keen to boost defence trade between the IBSA nations India, SA and Brazil.
It quoted Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Godfrey Ngwenya, as saying progress was being made: “We have made some inroads in this respect. Exports [have] increased from R5m to R19m.”  
Defense News reports from the show that the current touchstone of that collaboration is a R1 billion joint venture to develop a 5th generation infra-red guided short-range air-to-air missile.
“Denel Dynamics, a division of Denel, is developing the short- to medium-range A-Darter missile that can be used on the Gripen fighters SA is receiving from Saab and on Brazil’s F-5 aircraft,” the publication reported yesterday. “It also could be used on whichever fighter Brazil procures in its FX-2 fighter competition”, Denel Dynamics A-Darter programme director Colonel Ian van Vuuren told the well-respected US publication.
Defense News adds that Van Vuuren gave a basic “how-to” seminar at LAAD on establishing a framework for technology transfers between countries.
“One of the typical problems with technology transfer is everybody agrees to do it, [but] it takes two and a half years for the client receiving the technology to put the establishment team in place in his own country,” van Vuuren said. In that time, knowledge is lost and training loses its effectiveness.
How to establish an effective framework is “not that obvious when you’re in a middle of a program, having to launch it, apply the funding, find the people, put the mechanisms in place.”
Van Vuuren said that key to the process is having over-arching government support, formalised in cooperation agreements, and creating a joint contracting body to award the contract to companies.
Production of the first A-Darter missiles is planned for 2011, with one or all of Brazilian companies Avibras, Opto Electronica and Mectron producing a portion of the missiles.
Restrictions on advanced missile technology from developed countries have created export opportunities for the new weapon as it is increasingly hard for non-aligned countries to equip their aircraft.