The Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) has for the first time proposed to South Africa to engage in joint industrial research in the defense sphere.
"South Africa has a major industrial potential while Russia can offer a lot in the sphere of defense, security and law enforcement. We proposed long-term hi-tech cooperation," FSVTS Deputy Director Anatoly Punchuk told TASS after the first bilateral seminar held on the eve of the biggest Africa Aerospace & Defense (AAD-2016) show.
The seminar was attended by over a hundred experts from both countries who discussed organizational and legal issues of military-technical cooperation in Russia and South Africa, business specifics in each country, copyright protection and other issues.
"We discussed what to begin with, i.e. various models of industrial cooperation, including financial aspects. We have high-tech platforms which can be integrated with existing South African systems or maybe even with future jointly created new technologies," Punchuk said.
Russian exerts at the seminar stressed that technological platforms of T-72 tank have not been surpassed and that in aircraft, air and missile defense technologies Russia "is in the first line".
South African experts displayed most interest in Russian helicopters, coast guard ships and armor. Secretary of Defense Sam Gulube said his team was "enthusiastic and interested" in industrial cooperation with Russia but stressed no contracts could be expected overnight.
"As leaders we have to give a start to the process so that our people deal with specific issues. It is like marriage. When you meet a beautiful girl at a party you do not marry her the next day but ask her telephone number. This is a networking seminar that will yield result with time," he said.
The seminar was followed by a meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation. On the sidelines of AAD-2016 Punchuk is scheduled to meet South African Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
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