During a press conference at last week’s Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas, Kamov general designer Sergei Mikheyev dropped something of a bombshell when he revealed that the Kamov Design Bureau had produced the initial conceptual design for China’s Changhe (CAIC) Z-10 attack helicopter. Having made its public debut at last year’s Zhuhai airshow, the Z-10 is in the early stages of production and has entered service with at least one Chinese army unit.
South Africa’s government-owned Denel industrial group dominated the news at last week’s African Aerospace and Defence 2012 show, held at Waterkloof AFB near Pretoria. Just before the show’s opening Denel Aerostructures signed a renegotiated agreement with Airbus Military covering manufacture of top shells and wing/fuselage fairings for the A400M airlifter.
The South African Air Force (SAAF) received the final four of 26 Gripen fighters this month, as well as its ninth and tenth upgraded Rooivalk attack helicopters.
Pakistan’s defense ministry announced another test flight on May 31 of the locally developed air launched cruise missile (ALCM). The Hatf-VIII, also known as Ra’ad (Thunder), is a “low-altitude, terrain-hugging missile with high maneuverability” and a range of 350 km (217 miles), according to the ministry. It can accurately deliver conventional or nuclear warheads, the ministry added. The launch aircraft was not identified, but three previous launches since 2007 have been reported from Mirage III fighters.
Last week Denel Aviation delivered the first fully upgraded Rooivalk back to the South African Air Force (SAAF). After testing, the indigenous attack helicopter will finally get its type certificate and be inducted into the SAAF as the Rooivalk Mk 1. The SAAF’s No. 16 Squadron has been semi-operational on the type for a number of years, but the fleet has suffered problems.
Denel Aviation of South Africa has been certified by Lockheed Martin as a service center for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of C-130s. Although there are already eight of these facilities around the world, this is the first one in Africa. Denel says that there are 140 C-130s or L-100s (the commercial version) flying in Africa with 14 operators. Denel has been maintaining C-130s for the South African Air Force (SAAF) for many years.
South Africa’s Denel Optronics has been awarded a multi-million dollar production order for optical helmet tracker systems (HTS) to equip the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter. The deal represents the latest South African investment by BAE Systems through its Defense Industrial Participation program, which arose from South Africa’s decision to modernize and right-size its air force with 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainers and 28 Gripen fighters.