3 July 2014
Denel Aerostructures, a subsidiary of the state-owned Denel Group, has won its fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, the company announced this week.
South Africa is one of seven countries working on European aircraft manufacturer Airbus’s A400M programme.
Denel Aerostructures, the only tier 1 supplier of parts for the A400M outside of Europe, is already responsible for the design, engineering and fabrication of the giant airlifter’s wing-to-fuselage fairings and fuselage top-shells, as well as for the manufacture of the ribs, spars and swords that make up the inside structure of the A400M’s distinctive tail section.
Under the new, six-year contract, worth more than R260-million, Denel Aerostructures will manufacture ISO locks for the A400M’s cargo hold.
According to Engineering News, the ISO locks “are a combination of aluminium rails and cross tracks which serve to guide the movement of ISO containers within the cargo hold. The containers are then secured in their positions by a comprehensive system of locking mechanisms”.
Denel Group chief executive Riaz Saloojee said in a statement that the new work package confirmed Denel Aerostructures’ reputation as an emerging player in the global aerospace environment. “It is a vote of confidence in the South African engineering and high-tech manufacturing sectors.”
Noting that Denel Aerostructures had beaten international bidders for the contract, Saloojee added: “It is quite clear Airbus Defence and Space is satisfied with the quality of work we have delivered on other contracts over the past nine years and decided to place another work package with Denel.”
Denel describes the A400M as “the most cost-efficient and versatile airlifter ever conceived and absolutely unique in its capabilities”.
With a cargo hold designed to carry the outsize equipment needed for both military and humanitarian disaster relief missions, a range of over 3 300 kilometres, and the ability to land on unprepared terrain, the airlifter has been “designed to meet the needs of the world’s armed forces in the 21st century”, the company says.
It is also “ideally suited to the typical African peace-support missions which continue to be undertaken by South Africa in support of African Union and United Nations mandates on the continent”.