South Africa's Denel and British Aerospace have taken another step towards integrating Denel into the emergent European defence and aerospace alliance on 7 January with the signing of a memorandum of understanding setting the framework for closer ties.

The agreement, signed by Stella Sigcau, South Africa's public enterprises minister, and John Weston, BAe chief executive, covers the transfer of technology to Denel and placement of aerospace work and the international marketing of South African products.

At the heart of the agreement is a commitment by BAe to include South African defence interests in discussions over the unified European defence industry, says Allan MacDonald, BAe managing director for Asia and Southern Africa. "The South African government wanted to ensure that they weren't left at the gate [of European consolidation]," MacDonald says.

The agreement could transform the South African industry if it could become a supplier of core technologies and products to Europe, he says.

The next stage in the integration process is likely to follow the privatisation of Denel by the South African Government. Potential work includes replacing the US Mojave desert test site with South Africa's OTB test range as a European evaluation centre for hot and high conditions, while Denel's Kentron division has world leading skills in missile technologies, MacDonald says.

Source: Flight International