Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (AAD), is a key showcase in the trade exhibition calendar for air, sea, land defence and security solutions and Saab will be present when this year’s show takes place at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, South Africa, from 14 to 18 September, 2016.
Saab has had a long-established presence in Africa, symbolized by Saab Grintek Defence, a defence and Security Company co-owned by local South African interests.
Based in the Gauteng and Western Cape regions of South Africa, Saab Grintek combines Swedish know-how with local knowledge of electronic warfare, command and control, civil security and avionics.
The company develops and produces a wide range of products for land, naval, air and civil applications, and exports these products so successfully that it won the South Africa Department of Trade and Industry’s award for Best South African Export Company two years running.
“Saab is a highly respected name and has a strong presence in the defence sector, both in Africa and beyond. AAD is an important event for us to communicate our capabilities and product portfolio, and complements the work we are doing year-round to increase our business in Africa,” says Magnus Lewis-Olsson, Head of Saabs Market Area Europe, Middle East and Africa.
However, there is also a strong socio-economic aspect to Saab Grintek. The company employs a total of 650 South African citizens at its units in Pretoria and Cape Town, making it the second largest of Saab’s workforces worldwide out of the 70 countries in which we operate.
“As Africa continues its development into a market open for international trade, companies like Saab are important employers, who in turn can help to attract more business to the country,” says Lewis-Olsson.
Over the last few years Saab´s presence on the continent has increased with offices and operations in Kenya, Botswana and Somalia and the growth is likely to continue and broaden over the coming decade.
A key product for Saab’s expansion is, of course, the Gripen fighter system. South African Air Force was Gripen’s first export customer. A fleet of 26 aircraft (9 two-seat and 17 single seat) was ordered and Deliveries began in 2008 and was completed during the spring of 2012.
“Saab is in Africa and in South Africa in particular, to stay. Saab has one of the world’s largest defence and security portfolios ranging from the Gripen supersonic fighter to submarines and virtually everything in between. Saab has offices and operations in well over thirty countries and do business with over 100 countries; the largest contingent outside Sweden is in South Africa. This is a true token of a long standing bond between two countries far apart geographically but neighbours in co-operation.,”says Lewis-Olsson. ”We are here to stay.”