The Africa Aerospace and Defense, AAD 2022 show has opened at Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria, South Africa, following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The AAD is an aerospace and defence expo which combines a trade exhibition of air, sea and land technologies, and an air show – the only expo of its kind on the continent. The show is run biennially and is one of the biggest contributors to South Africa’s GDP on the years that it runs.
The show facilitates collaboration between several aerospace and defence companies from all over the world. In its last edition in 2018, it had 486 foreign and domestic exhibitors, 32,538 trade day visitors and 112 foreign delegates. This year’s show (AAD2022) has countries like the US, Belgium, Turkey, China, UK, Russia, Pakistan and India present.
South Africa’s Minister of Defence Thandi Modise highlighted the importance of the show for the country, saying, “In South Africa, it is very important it helps to create jobs. Defence is one of the pillars because if our defence industry is not there to defend our defence so we are in trouble so it is very, very important.”
“AAD presents a golden opportunity to identify areas of synergy and possible cooperation. It is more than a show. It is more than an exhibition. It is an investment. It brings together people from across the globe,” she added.
AAD2022 started on September 21, and will run till September 25. The first three days of the show were for conferences and trade, while the remaining two days will primarily be for air shows – displays by flying aircraft.
The air shows will feature a “mini-war” display by the South African National Defence Force, a hijacking/hostage rescue display by the South African Police Service, a mass parachute jump from a SAAF C-130 Hercules and much more. Reports also claim that drones will have a high profile this year as they will be allowed to fly during the show for the first time.
Some highlights of the show so far are:
• South Africa’s Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) launched its green hydrogen initiative. This will provide green hydrogen production, storage and transportation solutions for the nation, and hopefully on a continental and global scale in the future.
• Hendolt South Africa launched its new Quadome Land Radar, designed for air and surface surveillance and targeting. Hendolt also introduced its new RES9000 radar electronic surveillance solution.
• Private South African defence company Paramount Aerospace Industries has received orders for 9 of its Mwari aircraft from two undisclosed customers. The Mwari aircraft is the first military aircraft to be designed and built in the country in almost 20 years. The aircraft – for which development started in 2010 – is now ready to enter into service, with a base model costing around $10 million.
• Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation showcased its long range 122 mm, solid propellant rocket.
• Kachila and Hercules Dynamics, two Canadian-based technology companies launched a new AI solution called Athena Core Engine (ACE).
• Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) announced that it would deliver 2 Hürkuş training aircraft to Niger at the end of the year and 3 to Chad in the first quarter of 2023. TAI also disclosed that they are in negotiations with two other African countries to deliver more Hürkuş aircraft.
Sources: Reuters, AAD Expo, defenseWeb