Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2003-09-08 Reporter: Carli Lourens

SA Equipment for Hawk Trainer Attracts Orders



Business Day

Date 2003-09-08


Carli Lourens

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A local aerospace systems manufacturer is expecting a "flood of orders" on the back of rising international interest in the Hawk aircraft, similar to those purchased in SA's controversial defence procurement programme.

Aerospace Monitoring and Systems (AMS) is contracted by BAE Systems to manufacture the health- and usage-monitoring equipment for the UK-made Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft.

The contract forms part of BAE's defence offset obligations.

Christo Weder, MD of AMS, said his company had been growing "in leaps and bounds" over the past few years, in part as a result of the Hawk contract. The new spate of orders, however, would ensure that this growth was maintained or enhanced. The most recent of these is India's order of 66 Hawk aircraft.

"Our selection as a supplier of equipment for the Hawk has really opened up the international market for us," said Weder. "Last year about 98% of our revenue was generated through exports."

The new orders would also strengthen the aerospace sector, which had been targeted by government for assistance, as it had high potential to increase SA's exports of high value added goods.

This was in line with state industrial strategy. Weder said that in addition to India's big order the UK and Bahrain earlier this year also placed orders for the aircraft. "We are really excited about this."

AMS's equipment was included as standard on Hawk aircraft, unless clients specified other equipment. To date, however, AMS's health and usage monitoring system has been included on all Hawks produced since 1996, said Weder.

Increasing interest in the Hawk aircraft would also have benefits for Denel Aviation, which manufactures tailplanes for the aircraft.

With acknowledgements to Carli Lourens and Business Day.