Russo/South African defence industry ties were further cemented with the recent visit of an Armscor delegation to Russia for a series of bilateral meetings and attendance at conferences.
According to Armscor, the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency, the June visit to Russia was at the invitation of Rostec Corporation, a 700 company strong Russian industrial organisation active in areas as diverse as aircraft engine manufacturing, radio electronics, biotechnologies and information technology (IT) and telecommunications.
The Armscor delegation was accompanied by recently appointed SA Air Force deputy chief, Major General Mzayifani Buthelezi, as well as representatives of South Africa’s largest defence industry conglomerates – State-owned Denel from the public sector and the private sector Paramount Group.
“Meetings were held with Rostec and Rosoboronexport to discuss co-operation, and as part of planned activities the Armscor delegation visited Russian Helicopters and Kalashnikov MRO for use in civilian and military categories on the African continent,” according to the latest Armscor newsletter.
“Kalashnikov wants to explore servicing, assembling and manufacturing opportunities in Africa while Russian Helicopters wants to obtain expansive accreditation for South African industry in Africa,” the newsletter stated noting “no other acquisition requirements were discussed”.
Another outcome of the visit was the drafting of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Armscor, Denel, Paramount and Russian Helicopters to formalise “the intent of collaboration on the African continent”.
The visit was arranged to coincide with the 10th Republic of South Africa/Russian Federation joint inter-governmental commission for military/technical co-operation in St Petersburg ahead of which the South African delegation attended a joint Russia/South Africa defence industry seminar in Moscow. Visits to Russian defence industries in the greater Moscow Defence Industrial complex were arranged by AMD, the South African defence industry representative organisation, the newsletter states.