Saab to consolidate SA defence business

Swedish-owned defence company Saab says it is to start investigating how its South African defence divisions can be reorganised to meet local and global financial challenges.


“The ambition is to have a new consolidated organisation in place later this year.  Affected divisions will include the local operations of Electronic Defence Systems [EDS, formerly Avitronics] and Saab Systems Grintek (SSG),” the company said in a statement this morning.
“We have identified an urgent organisational need to consolidate local defence operations into one organisation in order to better service our local and international customer, to improve local efficiency and to be more competitive in the market place,” said Magnus Lewis-Olsson, acting CE and President of Saab South Africa (Saab SA). “The re-organisation will be aimed at increased local synergies and optimisation.”
The reorganisation programme will be aligned with Saab’s strategy to be more market focused, he adds. “I am confident that we will take the right steps and actions to build an organisation that is sustainable in the long term for our South African operations and for our profitable growth aspirations in the Sub-Saharan Africa and world markets,” adds Lewis-Olsson.
Saab SA is 75% owned by Saab of Sweden and 25% by controversial black empowerment company Sekunjalo, who was recently in the news regarding the cancellation of a R8 billion tender to run the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ offshore patrol vessel fleet, following allegations of irregularities. By one estimate, Saab SA employs some 2000 people.
EDS specialises in electronic warfare technology, avionics and armoured vehicle as well as aircraft self-protection systems. Currently directly managed from Sweden, the SA business unit’s Land Electronic Defence System (LEDS) has been selected by General Dynamics European Land Systems as the preferred active defence system (ADS) for its Piranha (8×8) APC family after a worldwide study of more than 20 ADS currently under development or approaching the end of their development.

The system has been procured by the Dutch army for its BAE Hägglunds CV90 tracked IFVs. It has 192 of the vehicles in service. In mid-July last year it was reported that Nexter Systems of France had completed installation and testing of the LEDS system on a French Army AMX-10RCR (Rénové) armoured reconnaissance vehicle as part of a research and development study that could see the system integrated onto a variety of French Army vehicles. The system has also been tested by the US Army.

SSG specialises in command, control (C2) and simulation and last year delivered the “Chaka” brigade-and-below C2 system to the SA Army in fulfilment of Project Legend. It is also custodian of SA’s Link-ZA encrypted wireless data protocol.