17-Jun-2013 Source: Russian Helicopters
Oboronprom, part of State Corporation Rostec, and Denel Aviation today signed an agreement to increase the range of services offered by the centre opened in South Africa earlier this year to provide maintenance and upgrade of Mi-8/17 helicopters. The agreement was signed at the Paris Air Show – Le Bourget 2013. The parties have agreed to significantly expand the functionality of the service centre, which opened in March 2013 at Denel Aviation’s facilities in Johannesburg. It is planned that the centre will not only provide the comprehensive maintenance services offered at its launch, but also complete overhaul and upgrade of both commercial and military helicopters of the Mi-8/17 series.
“Oboronprom’s partnership with Denel Aviation in helicopter servicing is beneficial to both sides – we are giving our colleagues unique competencies to repair and provide technical maintenance of Russian helicopters, and in return we will be able to broaden our commercial opportunities in the fast-growing African aviation market” – said Dmitry Lelikov, CEO of Oboronprom.
The agreement signed in Paris outlines the future development stages of the service centre, mandates its fitting-out with advanced equipment and defines the transfer of supporting technical documentation that Denel Aviation needs to service the fleet of Russian-built helicopters operating in sub-Saharan Africa. The Russian side will also send technical specialists to South Africa to provide assistance to the centre and to train the South African staff.
In March 2013, Denel Aviation and Russian Helicopters opened a dedicated centre in South Africa to provide maintenance services for commercial Mi-8/17 helicopters. Russian Helicopters provided the necessary equipment and prepared the centre for launch, and Denel Aviation staff underwent training at the Novosibirsk aircraft repair centre owned by Russian Helicopters.
“We look forward to continuing to develop our joint service project with Denel Aviation, which already provides technical support for Russian-built helicopters in Africa. Expanding the involvement of our South African partners will help us strengthen our position in the regional market, and lay the foundation for further promotion of Russian-built helicopters,” said Dmitry Petrov, CEO of Russian Helicopters.
The decision to establish the service centre was set out in a partnership agreement signed by Denel Aviation and Oboronprom in September 2012 at the seventh Africa Aerospace and Defence show in Pretoria.
“Today, Africa has a significant fleet of Mi-8/17 helicopters that need qualified and professional maintenance. We see a great opportunity in our partnership with our Russian colleagues, and all African helicopter operators will benefit from us working together” – said Mike Kgobe, CEO of Denel Aviation.
Under the plan, the Denel Aviation facility will become a leading regional service centre, and in future will provide after-sales care and maintenance services for all Russian-built helicopters in the sub-Sahara region.