DENEL OF SOUTH Africa has signed a provisional teaming agreement with Airod to market, manufacture and support the Atlas Aviation CSH-2 Rooivalk attack helicopter in Malaysia.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) calls for the establishment of an in-country manufacturing capability, in the event that the helicopter is ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). The two companies would also market the Rooivalk to other Southeast Asian and selected Middle East nations.

Local work content would constitute a minimum of 30%, increasing to 50% for sales of 40 or more helicopters. Malaysian input could include the manufacture of sub-assemblies, including aluminum and composite structures, wiring looms and panels, together with final assembly and flight test.

"This may or may not be done by us alone," says Airod managing director Moghni Rahmat. "We may form other joint ventures, or subcontract out to companies such as SME Technologies."

The MoU also includes provision for local kit assembly of the Atlas Oryx transport helicopter, an upgraded South African version of the Aerospatiale SA.330 Puma. The Oryx accord covers sales in Malaysia only and does not provide for any local manufacturing.

The Rooivalk and Oryx are being offered to meet Malaysia's requirement for an initial 12 attack helicopters and between six and ten logistical-support helicopters. Between five and nine single-engine scout helicopters are also needed.

Denel chief executive Johan Alberts strongly denies reports in the South African press that a Rooivalk sale has already been concluded with Malaysia.

Denel faces strong competition from McDonnell Douglas (MDC, offering the AH-64D Longbow Apache (Flight International, 6-12 December, P18). The US manufacturer is also developing manufacturing packages to offer to Malaysia, including possibly MD-80 component production by SME Technologies.

This is addition to $270 million-worth of offset commitments from its earlier sale of eight MDC F/A-18D fighters to the RMAF, says MDC senior vice-president for business development Tom Gunn.

Source: Flight International