Russian Helicopters, part of state defence holding Oboronprom and a leading global designer and manufacturer of helicopters, and Denel Aviation of South Africa have opened a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre in South Africa for Russian-built helicopters, strengthening Russian Helicopters’ position in the African market.
The MRO centre was launched on 26 March 2013 in Johannesburg during the BRICS summit. The ceremony was attended by executives from Russian Helicopters and Denel Aviation, representatives of the South African government, as well as heads of operating companies and potential clients for Russian-built helicopters.
“This is an important step in the development of our global after-sales support network for Russian rotary-wing aircraft,” Rostec Deputy CEO Dmitry Shugaev said. “Russian helicopters are very popular in Africa and our other core markets, so it is very important for us to be able to offer repair and maintenance services on the spot. This will help our partners in the sub-Sahara region to keep their businesses running smoothly by offering certified after-sales care for civilian helicopters when it is needed most. The high-quality service offered at our service centres around the world makes Russian equipment even more attractive to customers.”
Today there are about 600 Russian-built helicopters in Africa, mainly from the Mi-8/17 series and Ka-32s.
“Maintaining this fleet requires advanced service support in the region,” Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov said. “The launch of the MRO centre by Denel Aviation is a serious step in this process. We plan to build out a major regional centre that in future will be able to offer after-sales care and maintenance for all Russian-built helicopter models in the sub-Sahara region.”
Russian Helicopters supplied equipment and accompanying technical documentation for the MRO centre in Johannesburg, prepared the centre for operations, and also provided training for Denel Aviation technical staff at its aircraft repair centre in Novosibirsk.
The decision to establish an MRO centre was taken as part of a partnership agreement signed by Denel Aviation and Oboronprom in September 2012 at the Africa Aerospace and Defence show near Pretoria. Under the agreement Denel Aviation will offer maintenance services for civilian helicopters manufactured by Russian Helicopters.
Going forward Denel plans to expand the range of after-sales support and complete overhaul services it offers not only for civilian but also military helicopters, as well as for Russian-made components.