South African Defense and the Decline of South African Defense Industry


2017-07-12 According to an article published by our partner defenceWeb on July 4, 2017:

The arrival of democracy in South Africa has not been kind to the country’s defence industry which has seen a drop in turnover of more R12 billion from 1989/90 when it stood at R31,6 billion to last year’s R19 billion (measured in 2016 Rand value) according to the draft Defence Industry Strategy document.

The more than 200 page document which is currently circulating for comment and input points out that with the exception of the 1999 Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPPs) and “a small number of major projects the erosion of defence funding in real terms has continued since then with government funds channelled to address real and urgent socio-economic needs”…..

The biggest loser in this regard is the SA Army with most of its prime mission equipment “becoming obsolescent or even obsolete and key capability gaps emerging just as it is set to face more challenging tasks”. A lack of close-in anti-tank bunker weapons, air defence systems, air transportable combat and logistic vehicles and logistic vehicles to support mechanised forces are given as example of what the landward force needs.

The SA Air Force (SAAF) lacks a full range of precision weapons for fighters and combat helicopters, has no “serious maritime operations capability” as well as no airlift to support regional missions such as the African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capability for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).

The maritime service of the SANDF lacks adequate numbers of ships to meet current and envisioned regional commitment and lacks sealift to support regional missions according to the document.