Africa, UAE tie-ups in defence sector sought
Abu Dhabi, April 9, 2014
Knowledge exchange and technology transfer between Africa and the UAE is paramount in developing local defence and aerospace capabilities, the Global Aerospace Summit taking place in Abu Dhabi heard today (April 9).
Speaking on the panel “Can investment in aviation, aerospace, space and defence industries act as a catalyst for industrialisation”, CEOs from BAE Systems, Paramount Group, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Thales addressed the drivers needed to boost industrialisation around the globe.
As the only African representative at the conference, Ivor Ichikowitz, group executive chairman of the Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence and aerospace business, highlighted the impressive developments Africa has made in the last 20 years, and its ability to offer unique, stress-tested solutions using world-class technology.
Ichikowitz explained the need for collaboration between the UAE and Africa, which is seen as a growing force in the aerospace and defence industry, saying: “Although global defense spending is declining, the opposite is taking place in the Middle East, as well as India, China, Russia, South Korea, Brazil and Japan. Locally we see the Middle East, and especially the UAE, moving away from being simply consumers of defence and aerospace technologies to manufacturers of products and leaders in technology. It is here where our countries can find important synergies that will act as a catalyst for innovation and industrialisation."
He added: “Developments such as Tawazun Industrial Park play an important role in developing the UAE’s ambitious manufacturing and technology plans. South Africa is a natural defence partner in initiatives such as this. We are actively developing partnerships that will drive industrialisation through the establishment of defence industrial capability across the Middle East.”
Paramount Group is responsible for Africa’s first ever aircraft AHRLAC – which stands for Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft - a surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft ideal for the military requirements of the Middle East.
The AHRLAC, which took an astoundingly short four years from inception to completion, has the largest single blown canopy in the world, operates inexpensively, and offers a highly flexible mission configurable payload system which enables it to be transformed quickly between operational roles.
“There are many exciting developments in Africa’s aerospace industry and we continue to surprise the world with the unique capabilities and skills that our continent has to offer. We are excited at what the next 6 months have in stall for us here in the Middle East and around the globe” added Ichikowitz.
Paramount is setting its sights on developing a helicopter platform in the near future as well as ramping up its naval capabilities to increase its current offering. - TradeArabia News Service