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South Africa and Pakistan commit to strengthening defence ties

Following her meeting with Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain, the South African Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown called for the two countries to strengthen their defence relations, especially amidst growing bilateral economic trade.

“However, while both our countries have continued to enjoy cordial bilateral and trade relations I believe that the defence sector remains one area in which our countries have more opportunities to explore cooperation. It is for this reason that we met today,” said Minister Brown, adding, “We must be able to come up with a concrete plan on how best we can explore all possible areas of cooperation in the defence industry for the benefit of our countries. The partnerships will enable both countries to share experiences and transfer technology, as well as the know-how.”

Lynne Brown is on a three-day official working visit to Pakistan. Her delegation also includes the Director-General of the Department of Public Enterprises Mogokare Richard Seleke and Denel Group CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe. The South African delegation is visiting Pakistan on invitation from the MoDP.

According to state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), the MoDP had “highlighted the importance of defence cooperation between the defence industries of the two countries, including joint production.”

The APP reports in the delegation’s meeting with the MoDP, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) officials had briefed Minister Brown on PAC’s “ongoing defence projects and their potential.” The South African delegation is also expected to visit “strategic sites” in Pakistan in order to explore how Denel Group could engage with the Pakistani defence industry and the Pakistani armed forces.

In March, Pakistan and South Africa signed a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) committing to boost defence ties, especially through the “acquisition of defence equipment [and] cooperation in Research and Development … Transfer of Technology, Co-production/Joint Ventures in public as well as private sector.”

Denel Group engages in many defence design, development and production activities. Its diverse product range include artillery howitzers, sophisticated air-to-air and guided air-to-surface munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles, small arms, armoured vehicles as well as aircraft maintenance and production work.

In turn, there are many potential areas for technical cooperation between South Africa and Pakistan, such as – among others – producing guided munitions for the JF-17 multi-role fighter (see Quwa’s earlier article for additional details on this subject).

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  • by sami shahid
    Posted November 3, 2017 11:16 am 0Likes

    Pakistan needs MRAP, howitzer, helmet mounted display system & AESA radar.

  • by TZK
    Posted November 3, 2017 6:01 pm 0Likes

    More than any weapon deal I think Pak can learn from Denel and how they are organised, research, develop and manufacture. The Denel Technical Academy would be worth replicating in Pak if one does not already exist.

  • by Rolexer
    Posted November 3, 2017 6:49 pm 0Likes

    But before that it needs money!
    Truth be told, to move such a long list of modern hardware from Pakistan’s “wishlist” to shopping cart, a defense budget substantially more than that of $ 8.7 billion dollars would be required.
    And i dont see that happening anytime soon. That essentially means any quality equipment in any meaningful numbers coupled with local production and some ToT remains a distant dream. Off-the-shelf purchase in small numbers only seems plausible.

    After all, not all countries are as generous as Turkey or maybe China in extending a line of credit to Pakistan and implementing the offset clause.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted November 3, 2017 7:49 pm 0Likes

    Financing will be an issue, but trading in ZAR is much easier on Pakistan’s exchequer than USD, EUR or GBP. The cumulative value of the Tawazun/Denel Dynamics Tariq program – which includes completing and testing the Umbani, producing in the UAE and arming the UAE’s M2k-9 – is ZAR 1.6 bn, which is $160-175 m US. Part of that is also Denel investing in the UAE to co-establish Tawazun Dynamics. Pakistan will certainly prioritize cheaper options, but if the best deal is in South Africa, then I don’t think financing will be nearly as much of a hurdle as it would be with regards to Europe or the U.S.

  • by Rolexer
    Posted November 3, 2017 8:23 pm 0Likes

    Rightly put. But wasn’t the NIMR program a joint collaboration between Algeria and the UAE? AFAIK i dont think South Africa and consequently the ZAR were involved in this project in anyway. NIMR 4×4 APCs were to be produced in Algeria in CKD kits and exported to UAE where it would be later assembled. Both algeria and UAE were to spend in developing NIMR in algeria.
    I am sorry but i didn’t exactly catch the drift of your last sentence. Do you mean to say that South Africa helped UAE establish the NIMR LLC in Abu Dhabi? And denel dynamics is a joint partner of the company?

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted November 3, 2017 9:10 pm 0Likes


    NIMR is a company based on the UAE. NIMR did export Nimr 4×4 vehicles to Algeria some time ago, but the company-proper is a subsidiary of EDIC in the UAE.

    In 2015, EDIC/NIMR signed a contract with Denel Land Systems wherein the Denel would supply its RG35 MRAPs to NIMR. NIMR re-branded the RG35 to the N35 (and then JAIS), but it’s basically assembling the vehicles from kits supplied by Denel. The total value of the program, which includes the assembly line in the UAE and 100+ vehicles thus far, is $84 m USD. Part of that expense was spent in the UAE (to set up the assembly line).

    Separately, Denel Dynamics is also supplying the Umbani to the UAE, which – again – is being assembled or possibly even co-manufactured in the UAE as the Tariq. However, this was also involved Denel Dynamics investing in an EDIC venture – i.e. Tawazun Dynamics – to basically co-produce the Umbani/Tariq PGB to the UAE Air Force. The total value of the program is $160-175 m, of which some was (again) spent in the UAE over 5-6 years. Pakistan had spent as much if not more on stand-off guided munition imports not too long ago.

  • by Rolexer
    Posted November 3, 2017 9:22 pm 0Likes

    Thank you so much Bilal for such a crisp and detailed response. I had this confusion regarding the origins of NIMR and tawazun dynamics since a long time but after reading your detailed response i am much more clear on the origins of the MRAP projects undertaken by UAE. Thank you.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted November 3, 2017 9:50 pm 0Likes


    Note: EDIC/NIMR partnered with several companies, each generating a different product. For example, they partnered with VOP CZ (and possibly others) to develop and co-manufacture the AJBAN. They contracted HORIBA MIRA in the UK to design the NIMR RIV.

  • by Faisal
    Posted November 5, 2017 4:52 pm 0Likes

    Smaller solutions to bigger problems. Some solutioning person needs to connect all the opportunities into a working solution for Pakistan. I believe we have such minds available there and people listen to them. Hope it doesn’t turn into a window shopping venture and produces actual results. India will be acquiring lots of stuff in next 5-10 years. Time for us to get started.

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