New helicopter maintenance centre with strengthen Denel's footprint in Africa. Africa's first centre of excellence for the repair and servicing of products of Russian Helicopters, the Rostec subsidiary, was opened in Kempton Park today following an historic agreement between the state-owned defence and aerospace company, Denel, and the Russian manufacturer of rotary wing aircraft.
The state-of-the-art maintenance facility, next to O R Tambo International will cater for the rapidly growing number of Russian Helicopters products flying on the continent of Africa, requiring high-level maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work. Denel Aviation is the only company accredited to perform these services and is also able to deploy technical field teams to any destination in Africa to do local repairs and maintenance.
The importance of this centre for future aerospace cooperation between the two counties was underlined when President Jacob Zuma and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, participated in the opening ceremony through a video link-up from the Brics Summit in Durban.
The Chairman of the Denel Board, N R Zoli Kunene says the establishment of the centre is a practical example of the type of partnerships that will emerge from the Summit. Through the Brics alliance we see the prospects of new market opportunities opening up for Denel to confirm our position as a proudly African defence company that can also be a significant player on the global stage, he said.
This is an important stage of implementation the strategy for the development of global system of Russian rotary wing equipment after-sale maintenance, Dmitri Shugaev, Deputy CEO of Rostec State Corporation, underlined. There is a great demand for Russian helicopters both in Africa and on other markets traditional for us. That is why it is important to provide maintenance services on the spot. It will encourage the business efficiency of our partners in the region southward of Sahara and provide a well-timed certified after-sale maintenance of the civil helicopter fleet. Our equipment becomes more attractive since we offer world-class quality services in our maintenance centres.
Today Russian-made helicopter fleet in Africa comprises approximately 600 rotary wing aircrafts of Mi-8/17 and Ka-32 models.
Such fleet maintenance requires the organization of the state-of-the-art service support system in the region, Dmitri Petrov, CEO of the Russian Helicopters holding said. The MRO facility establishment by Denel Aviation became a big step in this direction. A large regional centre is to be based on the ventures facilities and to subsequently perform after-sale and service maintenance of all the Russian Helicopters products in the region southward of Sahara.
Russian Helicopters holding provided maintenance centre in Johannesburg with the equipment and documentation required, prepared the facility for work, and arranged Denel Aviation staff training at one of its ventures, Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant.
The decision of service centre establishment was made within the partnership agreement signed by Denel Aviation and Oboronprom in September, 2012 at the seventh Africa Aerospace and Defence show at Waterkloof in Pretoria. Denel Aviation plans to perform service maintenance of Russian Helicopters civil rotorcrafts within the cooperation.
The South African company looks to gradually expand the service range after-sale maintenance and overhaul of Russian-made civil and military rotorcrafts and aggregative equipment.
The Group Chief Executive of Denel SOC, Riaz Saloojee, says these aircraft require a reputable and accredited facility within easy range of its users in Africa to perform MRO services. Both operator and original equipment manufacturer must have full confidence in the quality and experience of the engineers and technical crews who are performing this work.
This is the quality of service that Denel Aviation has become known for in the broader aviation industry and which it has already demonstrated through the work done in support of Russian Helicopters products over the past three years, said Mr Saloojee.
The facility is the only one of its kind in Africa and is expected to take over responsibility for the maintenance of most of the estimated 350 helicopters manufactured by RH, flying on the continent.
The two companies have already conducted joint road shows to market their collective capabilities and received positive feedback from operators in countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda who will most likely send their helicopters to Kempton Park for MRO services in the future.
Mr Saloojee says he expects the partnership to grow and expand into other areas which might include the joint marketing of products and services on the continent.
Mr Saloojee says as an African defence and industrial company Denel intends to expand its footprint on the continent, including the establishment of regional offices in a number of key countries.
Africa currently constitutes 27% of Denel total export sales of R1.33 billion but it foresees strong future growth especially in the fields of MRO work, humanitarian demining and unmanned aerial vehicle systems.
Denel's approach is to create partnerships with our clients in Africa. It is not a question of selling services and systems and walking away from the deals, says Mr Saloojee. Our African partners know that we continue to support our services through training programmes, maintenance agreements, the provision of spares and equipment, upgrades and technical advice.
The new MRO centre will also fit into Denels initiatives for the training of skilled aviation engineers, artisans and technicians. The Denel Technical Academy trains about 250 students a year in aviation-related courses including from countries such as Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Namibia and Nigeria.
Denel Aviation is the leading provider of MRO services to a number of global manufacturers of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. It is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the Rooivalk combat support helicopter and also an accredited service centre for Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin aircraft, including the widely-used Hercules C-130.
Russian Helicopters is an Oboronprom (Rostec constituent) subsidiary, one of the leading rotorcraft manufacturers, the only designer and producer of helicopters in Russia. The holding was established in 2007. The headquarters of the company is located in Moscow. The holding comprises 5 rotorcraft plants, 2 design bureaus, the ventures manufacturing and servicing components and a service company performing after-sale maintenance inside and outside of Russia. The clients of the holding are Gazprom Avia and UTair air carriers, large Russian and foreign companies. In 2011 Russian Helicopters IFRS revenues increased at 27.8% and amounted to 103.9 billion roubles with 262 rotorcraft deliveries.