Military

Program Insider: South Africa Team Shoots for Attack Helo

By Staff Writer | October 1, 2008

Attack

The South African aviation and defence company Advanced Technologies and Engineering is pursuing development of a new attack helicopter, according to Engineering News of South Africa.

Part of the French company Aéronautique et Technologies Embarquées, Advanced Technologies and Engineering is based in Halfway House, South Africa. It produces and upgrades fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial systems and land vehicles and provides mission-systems integration services. It recently completed upgrades of Russian-made Mi-24s that it is producing for the air force of a North African country, according to Engineering News, and has demonstrated another upgraded Russian helicopter-the combat Mi-17-for an unnamed potential customer.

The Mi-17 upgrade included a night-vision goggle-compatible conversion of all cockpit and cabin lighting, external navigation and formation lighting and the inclusion of infrared landing lights, according to Engineering News, and installation of glass cockpit avionics, a sighting system and a weapons system that incorporates twin 23-mm cannons in pylon slung pods, eight Ingwe missiles on stub-wing outboard stations, rocket pods and chaff and flare countermeasures.

The demonstration of the upgraded Mi-17 helicopter is expected to lead to the signing of a deal early next year, according to the company.

"The Mi-17 upgrade success is based upon the capability and experience that ATE has created, both in itself and in the South African defence industry, when it upgraded a large fleet of Russian Mi-24 helicopters aimed at significantly enhancing its operational performance," Lorris Duncker, the company’s external director, told Engineering News.

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