AAD2018 closes off in a spectacular fashion
The 10th edition of Africa’s premier exhibition of air, land and sea technologies, held 19th-23rd September 2018 – ended on high note with a spectacular showcasing of air-acrobatics gracing the Tshwane skies. The 2018 version of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) brought together African and global business leaders and high-ranking military delegations for weeklong engagements and robust discussions on a myriad of topics, notable cyber security and the global contribution to peacekeeping efforts.
President Cyril Ramaphosa certainly signaled his support not only for the event as such, but also for an outreach to our neighbours and captains of the industry around the world and for expanding relationships with them, as AAD was his inaugural opening as the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force.
In keeping with this year’s theme of “Unlocking Africa’s aerospace and defence potential”, AAD2018 presented business opportunities on a continental and global front. “The African Aerospace and Defence exhibition offer a massive opportunity for all present to identify areas of synergy and convert them into joint ventures,” the President said.
The exhibition played host to 415 exhibitors from 40 countries, as well as 71 official delegations and attracted over 32000 trade visitors on the three trade days. On the two open days over the long weekend, no less than 55 000 members of the public passed through the gates. This attendance is an example of the growth of the exhibition despite the hard-economic times being faced in South Africa and globally.
Several highlights were witnessed this year and included amongst others:
The Paramount Group’s announcement of the establishment of Paramount South Africa, a transformed Black-Owned Enterprise constituted to provide the future capability requirements of South Africa’s defence, police, border and peacekeeping forces.
Denel showcased its RG41 8×8 armoured, fitted with a 30 mm modular combat turret. The RG41 is a new generation wheeled armoured combat vehicle and a cost-effective solution for clients who require a combination of high mobility, protection and fire power.
Airbus fixed the spotlight on its South African industrial partnerships, alongside its product portfolio.
Some of the returning exhibitors who notably intensified their participation included MILKOR, a South African defence company, which develops and supplies a wide range of defence and security products.
East Africa was also well represented by SAFAT, a division of the military industry corporation MIC- Sudan who exhibited for the second time, showcasing 122 products including static aircraft and their latest technology in Smart Air Surface Pumps guided by GPS known as precision guided bombs (BK-3).
The Airforce of Zimbabwe K-8 Karakorum light attack fighter aircraft was also flown with a support CASA 212 on static display. Squadron 2 was well represented at the show once again as audiences were able to see six Gripens in formation, two Gripens in the mini-war and a solo gripen display flown by Major Geoffrey ‘Spartan’ Cooper and a 2v1 combat routine.
Keeping with tradition, AAD2018 also enabled the unlocking of the potential of South Africa’s youth. AAD’s youth development programme (YDP) ensured that thousands of school learners got exposed to the aerospace and defence technologies on display. They had the opportunity not only to engage with exhibitors, but also to explore career possibilities in the high-technology industry and military environment.
As Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said: “Since much of the world has already entered the fourth industrial revolution with its nano-technology and artificial intelligence (AI), South Africans should be part of it.”
CAASA, the commercial aviation association of South Africa, was the lead partner for AAD2018. At the close of the exhibition, the baton was handed over to AMD: The South African Aerospace Maritime and Defence Association.
President Ramaphosa observed that AAD is a national asset that has value for many departments and agencies of government and pledged the highest office’s support to this expo as it brings together the largest gathering of the aerospace and defence industry players and buyers.
‘AAD lives by the mandate of showcasing high technologies for the benefit of South Africa, its neighbours and the world at large and so we wish to thank all our exhibitors and sponsors for their contribution to another successful edition. We look forward to welcoming them all back in 2020 on 16 to 20 September” said Leon Dillman, CEO of CAASA in conclusion.
AAD2018 IN NUMBERS:
Number of Exhibitors: 415
Countries Exhibiting: 40
Country Pavilions: 15
Indoor Exhibition: 12687
Outdoor Exhibition: 17409
Aircraft Static: 128
Hospitality Chalets: 40
Public Day: 55063
Trade Visitors: 32538
Countries as visitors: 102
Official Delegation: 71