Saab Grintek Defence (SGD) has been given the Exporter Award at the fourth annual South Africa Premier Business Awards. This is the third time the company has been given the award.
The SA Premier Business Awards acknowledges business excellence in South Africa and is organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with Proudly South Africa and Brand South Africa.
The Exporter Award recognises all export industry sectors, from services to manufacturing, and encourages other South African companies to participate in international business development and markets, Saab said. It also highlights South African enterprises that invest in both human and technical resources in various projects or activities; produce quality products and services; and remain locally and internationally competitive.
“It is an honour to once again win the acclaimed Exporter Award. Not only is it a recognition of the quality of products we produce in South Africa, but more importantly the dedication, technical skills and hard work of our local employees. Their commitment to ensuring the quality of our products enables us to compete on the international market,” said Trevor Raman, CEO at Saab Grintek Defence after the company was given the award on 6 December.
“In addition to actively seeking export opportunities, SGD works closely with the South African Government to identify opportunities to supply cost-effective and high performance defence solutions, contributing to South Africa’s defence sovereignty and self-sufficiency,” said Raman.
Saab Grintek Defence was named Exporter of the Year in 2013 and 2014 by the DTI, after celebrating record exports and revenue. The title of Exporter of the Year was awarded to Canvas and Tent in 2015 by the Department of Trade and Industry.
With 80 percent of its orders coming from other countries, most of SGD’s locally produced products are exported, bringing income into South Africa. These include electronic warfare self-protection suites, maritime ESM systems, civilian aircraft missile protection systems, communications management systems, in-flight data recording systems, and health and usage monitoring systems. SGD is Saab’s biggest operation outside Sweden, employing 719 people across its three sites in South Africa.
Killian Swift, Saab’s Deputy Head of Country Unit Africa, recently said that Saab is pushing into South Africa and sees demand from several key areas including border protection, civil security, maritime security, and mobile medical facilities. It is also keen to participate in Project Biro for new offshore and inshore patrol vessels. Saab could supply combat management systems, electronic support measures and electronic intelligence etc. for Biro.
Trevor Raman, President and CEO at Saab Grintek Defence, said that as Saab has supplied a full field camp in Somalia, the company is looking at Project Teamster, the South African National Defence Force’s project to replace its field cooking capabilities. Saab has already been awarded a contract for the cold chain component of Teamster.
Some of Saab Grintek Defence’s most important products include the Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS) and Land Electronic Defence System (LEDS), health and usage monitoring system (HUMS), and submarine and surface vessel laser and radio frequency warning systems, amongst others.
LEDS 50 has been exported while the more advanced LEDS 100 and 150 are still in the development stage – LEDS 150 is an active protection system. Saab is looking for an investment partner and launch customer to take the project forward.
Saab Grintek Defence in 2015 recorded R1 070 million in sales across 30 customer countries. Of the R1 070 million in sales, R880 million was for exports. The company is growing, with R1.5 billion in new orders.
Saab Grintek Defence recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Power SED to promote defence trade manufacturing in India and create export opportunities for South Africa. It follows an agreement earlier this year when Saab and Tata Power SED announced they had started manufacturing LEDS 50 for the Indian market and for export. The system was previously made in South Africa only. Tata Power SED will eventually manufacture a large part of the system in India and also do final assembly. Tata will also be responsible for marketing the system in India.
Saab said the agreement was pre-emptive ahead of expected orders for land and air systems from the Indian market and was part of Saab’s response to the Make in India initiative.
Saab has sold its IDAS in India, which is in use aboard the HAL Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter, and is looking at other helicopters made by HAL, such as its Light Combat Helicopter, and expects more IDAS sales from the country.