Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu has punted South African radar to her Argentinian counterpart Nilda Garré. She made the pitch aboard the South African Navy fleet replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg while signing an agreement on military and defence industrial cooperation.
In a statement Sisulu’s office says the agreement allows for an exchange in technology, innovation, military health development and participation on joint training exercises as well as partnership for search and rescue operations in the Southern Atlantic Ocean.
“The South African defence industries are technologically highly advanced and diversified presenting the Argentine Ministry of Defence with a vast range of defence systems required for its modernisation programmes,” Sisulu was quoted saying. “In particular the long-range radar environment, which presents us with the opportunity for a joint project to fulfil the common long-range radar requirements in both South Africa and Argentina. The South African defence industries are keen to enter into joint-development ventures with the Argentine defence industries and furthermore offer advanced system houses for the future research and development of weapon systems”, she added.
The two countries also agreed to explore areas of defence industrial cooperation in the aviation, avionics, command-control-communications, air-to-air missile technology, grenade launches and maritime environments.
Both ministers agreed that the threat of conflict between nations has almost disappeared and that new threats and challenges of a special type have emerged to challenge the stability and security of nations. “The most obvious of these are terrorism, piracy in the high seas, proliferations of nuclear weapons among rogue countries, biological and chemical ware, cyberwarfare, resource scarcity and climate change. These threats present major challenges to the deployment of our armed forces. Deterrence is not enough. Our armed forces must be able to anticipate and act swiftly to address these threats whenever they arise”, Sisulu said.
The minister added that the two countries share similar national interests, which are based on common national values within the concept of South-South cooperation.
The SAS Drakensberg had been in Argentina to participate in Exercise Atlasur VIII with the Argentine, Brazilian and Uruguayan navies. “This is an achievement by the navies of the countries from the South to continue to cooperate in maritime security environment and to gauge their readiness to address the ongoing global security challenges they facing,” the statement added.
The submarine Charlotte Maxeke also participated in this year’s exercise. Sisulu addressed the Drakensberg’s ship’s company expressing her greatest happiness and pride.”
“You fly our flag very high, continue doing the good work to represent us as a nation,” she said.
Like Sisulu, Garré is former leftist militant and the first woman to hold the defence portfolio.
Pic: The Reutech Radar Systems RSR320 X and L-band long-range 3D air defence radar, currently under development for the SA Army’s air defence artillery