Saab’s presence in South Africa, through Saab Grintek Defence, remains focussed on development and production of avionics and electronic warfare/self-protection systems for aircraft, land vehicles, naval vessels and submarines. To this end, Saab South Africa developed next generation missile and laser warning sensors continuing its successful MAW and LWS series.
Saab South Africa has for many years manufactured laser warning and missile approach warning sensors, with previous generations being the LWS-310 and MAW 300 respectively. The company recently launched its next generation MAW 400 and LWS-330 for airborne platforms, now in production, with a European customer the first to take these new products.
In addition, Saab South Africa is producing a LEDS 50 MK 4 sensor, which is a 1-degree sensor for land applications. (Land Electronic Defence Systems, or LEDS, is an integrated, modular, active protection system consisting of laser warning sensors, an active defence controller, human-machine-interface and an effector control segment that can launch smoke or cue jammers.
Saab’s laser and missile approach warning systems form part of its integrated defensive aids suite (IDAS) for helicopters, transport aircraft and combat aircraft. IDAS warns against radar, laser and infrared guided threats and automatically deploys appropriate countermeasures such as chaff and flares. IDAS is operational on 30+ aircraft types in more than 15 countries
India is a big IDAS customer, with more than 200 systems installed on Indian Air Force and Army Dhruv helicopters since 2005. “Saab continues to view the Indian market in a very positive light, and we have made good progress in the last 12 months,” the company said.
Another flagship product is its Naval Signal Intelligence System. Saab has been successful in the naval field, supplying submarine radar warning receivers for new submarines of the Greek, Portuguese and South Korean navies, and warning systems for the Abu Dhabi Navy’s Baynunah class corvettes – including laser warning for inshore operations – and German Navy mine-hunters.
Other portfolio items include airborne computer systems, radio and audio management systems, as well as utility control systems.
Much of Saab South Africa’s products are exported – the majority of turnover is for the export market, resulting in foreign direct investment (the company has customers in more than 30 countries worldwide).
“The South African division has proven to be competitive in the worldwide market and is considered core to Saab’s product offering. We have achieved many milestones throughout the years, such as South Africa being Saab’s first export customer for the Gripen, and is one of the countries having the highest number of employees outside Sweden, and an advanced Electronic Warfare and Avionics business,” the company said. Saab employs 350 people across both its offices in Centurion and Cape Town.
“Our aim is to establish sustainable growth for our business in South Africa, which will be based on increased sales,” Saab said, adding that, “we invest in research and development therefore creating new viable technology, knowledge, and products for the international market.”
Focus on Africa
Saab is attending AAD 2022 to show its commitment to South Africa and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The company supports the national defence force by, among others, providing the electronic warfare systems on the navy’s submarines, self-protection systems on air force helicopters and airworthiness support for the Gripen fighter fleet.
As AAD 2022 is the main trade show for the Sub-Saharan African market, Saab’s attendance is also geared to building new relationships and engaging with customers and partners, and reaching a new audience. The company has a presence across Africa and explains “We currently provide a wide range of products and services in several African countries. These include the EW self-protection systems, ground-based air defence systems, ground combat weapons, radar systems, combat management systems, anti-ship missile systems, underwater systems (ROVs), air traffic management, maritime traffic management and training and simulation solutions.”
At AAD, Saab is focussing on its Gripen multi-role fighter aircraft, Sea Giraffe 1X radar, training and simulation (TES) solutions, Carl-Gustaf and AT4 multi-role weapons, IDAS and LEDS self-protection systems, and DeployNet 5G/LTE network solution, which enables high-capacity bandwidth in geographically remote areas.
After AAD 2022, Saab will exhibit at IDEX in the UAE in February, AeroIndia in February, LAAD in Brazil in April, Imdex Asia in Singapore in May, and the air shows taking place in both Paris and Dubai.