SA companies benefited greatly from frigate deal

Local companies have benefited to the tune of R850-million from defence offset contracts for equipment installed aboard the South African Navy’s four new Valour-class frigates.

The defence industrial participation (DIP) contracts related to the frigates’ platforms, not including those involving their weapons systems, are now fulfilled, German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems said on Thursday.

South Africa has acquired four new frigates—the SAS Amatola, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop and the SAS Mendi—at a total cost of about €500-million (about R4,9-billion).

“We have done what we committed to do when we signed the contracts,” ThyssenKrupp offset manager Ulrich Scheel told a media briefing on board the SAS Isandlwana at the Simon’s Town naval base.

The equipment installed by South African firms includes an exhaust system designed to reduce the ships’ heat signature, masts configured to enhance its stealth profile, and electrical switchboards and ventilation control systems.

Local companies involved in the construction include DCD Dorbyl, Bennett’s Engineering, Titanium Industries, Booyco Engineering, Siemens Pinetown and MTU Cape Town.

“All participated directly in the offset programme, supplying significant elements of the frigates’ electrical, diesel, high-tech exhaust and integrated platform management systems, superstructures and mast modules, refrigeration and ventilation plants, gearboxes and hydraulic power units,” ThyssenKrupp said in a statement handed out at Thursday’s briefing.

Included in the DIP arrangements were skills and technology transfer programmes, which are already bearing fruit.

“The skills and technology transfer programmes, which were an integral part of the DIP programme, ensured that the frigates and their key systems can be maintained in South Africa by South Africans in future,” the statement said.

Scheel told journalists that locally built frigate exhaust systems are being supplied to the Malaysian navy. His company is also recommending them for installation in the frigates it supplies to other countries.

He said the total local content of the four South African ships, including their weapons systems, is about 60%.—Sapa


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