South Africa has increased sales of arms exports. In year to date data, South Africa’s largest arms manufacturer, the state-owned company Denel, has had a profitable year, racking up profits of $16.5 million. This was the first time that Denel had achieved such a feat in a decade. Denel’s Group Executive Officer Talip Sadik said “We are pleased with our results, in particular that the business generated cash from operations of $26.4 million. The good results are an indication that Denel is on a path to self-sufficiency, prosperity and sustainability. Denel is actively looking at strengthening its presence in its existing, high growth markets and seeking new markets and new clients.”
Denel’s output is primarily directed to meet the requirements of the South African military, which recently purchased state-of-the art Rooivalk helicopters manufactured by Denel. As for the future, Sadik said Denel had nearly $744 million in export contracts on its books and that this included the largest export order secured in Denel’s history.
Beyond strictly military hardware, Denel has diversified its output into civilian applications such as civil security, crime prevention, improving workplace safety and productivity and rendering support to the mining and electronic sectors.
Analysts rate the quality of Denel’s products as comparable with equivalent products of defense industries in the leading developed countries while in certain niche areas, such as mine-protected vehicles.
South African industry led the world during the 1980s, when sanctions forced the apartheid government to develop its own indigenous arms industry.