Britain stands to earn up to £2bn following South Africa’s £3bn arms deals announced last week.
Sweden’s Saab and British Aerospace notched up their first export success with the Saab Gripen fighter, jointly marketed by the companies since 1995. Pretoria wants 28 Gripens.
BAe, prime contractor for the order, is expected to manufacture parts for the Gripen under a 1995 agreement in which BAe was to make 40% of each Gripen sold for export. First delivery is due in 2004.
BAe will also make parts at its factories at Brough in East Yorkshire and Warton in Lancashire for the 24 Hawk Lead-In Fighter Trainers ordered by South Africa. The Hawks will be locally assembled and part-manufactured by Denel for delivery from 2005.
BAe holds a 35% stake in Saab, and will share in Saab’s earnings from the Gripen deal. Detailed negotiations on the Gripen/Hawk deal start soon.
GKN-Westland was selected to supply the South African navy with an intermediate shipborne helicopter, the Super Lynx 300.
Four helicopters, worth £80m, will be built. The Super Lynx 300 beat the Franco-German AS532SC Cougar from the Eurocopter consortium.
These Lynxes will be fitted with new Rolls-Royce/Allied Signal CTS800 turboshafts, which will provide 30% more engine power than is available to current Lynxes.
A South African light utility helicopter order went to Italy’s Agusta, with which GKN-Westland is closely linked on production of the EH101 helicopter.
A loser was Marconi Marine’s Yarrow Shipbuilders, which had offered its F3000S design for Pretoria’s corvette requirement. It was won by the German Frigate Consortium.