17 Apr 14. In just the past three months, five global defense companies have announced plans to open factories, maintenance facilities and marketing offices in four southern and east African countries. It’s a sign of the continent’s warming defense market, in which various governments are expected to sign deals worth an estimated $20bn over the next decade. Defense industry analysts say planned purchases include new and upgraded armored vehicles, naval patrol craft, military aircraft, air defense systems, UAVs, improvised explosive device (IED) jammers and radars. Broadly speaking, the growing demand for defense products in southern Africa is powered by the desire to modernize forces, while countries in east and west Africa are building up to confront evolving trans-national security threats, said an African defense market analyst attached to the Zimbabwe Staff College of the Zimbabwe National Army.
In this latest scramble for Africa, Kenya has emerged as a top beneficiary. In January, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri said it will soon establish its first African shipyard to supply new naval vessels and provide maintenance-repair-overhaul (MRO) services to African and Middle Eastern customers. In February, Eurocopter Southern Africa Limited (ESAL) announced plans to set up a permanent base at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to support the company’s airborne law-enforcement and civic emergency response gear.
In late March, Saab opened a marketing office in Botswana’s capital of Gaborone. The Swedish company, which already had offices in Kenya and South Africa and some sales in Angola, Botswana, Ghana and Namibia, is looking to boost its business in the Sub-Saharan region.
Sudan may soon get a new foreign facility as well. Last week, Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov was reported to have renewed interest in establishing a maintenance, repair and overhaul base at Safat Aviation Complex in Khartoum.
In early March, DynCorp International rolled out the first 16 armored personnel carriers from its new Mozambiquan factory. The US company, which has a partnership with local automotive manufacturer OTT Technologies Mozambique, received an order for 115 armored personnel carriers from the US State Department under its African Peacekeeping Program. The Puma M36 4×4 vehicles will go to seven West African armies participating in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, said DynCorp spokeswoman Ashley Burke.
Nigeria will continue to be among the most lucrative African defense markets, with demand is expected to grow 12.6 percent over the next four years, according to a report by market analyst firm Strategic Defence Intelligence, “Future of the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) Defense Industry – Market Attractiveness, Landscape and Forecast 2015-2019.” (Source: Defense News)
17 Apr 14. Northrop Grumman Corporation dedicated its new Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine, which builds upon the company’s 34-year legacy of operations there. Set against the backdrop of construction of a new 368,000 square foot aircraft production facility, approximately 500 employees, local business leaders, and federal, state and local elected officials gathered to celebrate the formal establishment of Northrop Grumman’s St. Augustine manufacturing facility as a center of excellence. It is one of the company’s two aircraft integration centers in the U.S. Dignitaries at the ceremony included Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Ron DeSantis. Scott kicked off the event, which also featured remarks by Nelson, DeSantis and Tom Vice, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president, Aerospace Systems. The company recently broke ground on the new building at its campus adjacent to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport. The new building will provide additional hangar space and program management offices