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SA defence industry boost from Indian military deal

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Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter.

JOHANNESBURG (PTI): India, world's largest arms importer, has signed defence deal worth nearly USD 80 million with South African companies for integrated self-protection systems on its indigenously developed Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters.

The deal, expected to give a huge boost to South African defence industry, was signed between Dhruv's manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Saab Grintek Defence for Integrated Defensive Aids Suites (IDAS).

Saab said on Monday that the IDAS systems will be produced at its South African subsidiary Saab Grintek Defence in Centurion, north of Johannesburg, and will be delivered between 2015 and 2018.

IDAS provides timely warnings against radar, laser and infrared (IR) guided threats and automatically deploys appropriate countermeasures.

Anne Lewis-Olsson, Vice President Communication, Sub Sahara Africa for Saab Grintek Defence, told the African defence publication defenceWeb that the Indian order will retain skills and competence in South Africa, with further long-term benefits for the country.

Chris Skinner, head of marketing and sales at Saab Grintek Defence, added that Saab and HAL are in talks over the production of IDAS components in India.

"This is the type of order that companies dream about," Skinner said, adding that it would also necessitates expansion of production facilities.

"The success of IDAS continues and we are proud that HAL and the Indian armed forces have continued faith in the IDAS system, of which this follow-on order is a clear indication," said Micael Johansson, head of Saab business area Electronic Defence Systems.

The deal, estimated to be worth around USD 80 million, comes on the back of a string of defence deals signed by the new Narendra Modi government to shore up India's defence capabilities and modernise its ageing military technology.

The government cleared a USD 8 billion plan to build India's most advanced warships in February this year.

India is also expected to sign a number of defence deals worth about USD 2 billion with Israel in the next few years.

The latest data on international arms transfers released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March showed that India accounted for 15 per cent of the global arms imports from 2010 to 2014 and remains world's largest arms importer.

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South Africa  India  Dhruv  Deal  
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