The South African Association of Aerospace, Maritime and Defense Industries (AMD) (www.AMD.org.za) currently plays an important but largely unrecognized role in South Africa’s economy and civil society, with enormous potential to drive positive change even further.
According to Sandile Ndlovu, interim executive director: AMD, which explains: “The AMD is a grouping of South African registered aerospace and defense entities that focus on high tech capabilities including design, development, testing, evaluation, manufacturing, operation, upgrade, maintenance, repair and overhaul of air (including space) and maritime (i.e. maritime and naval) systems and their subsystems – including those elements considered as “dual-use” for both local and overseas purposes.
This critical arena requires a special and unique level of government support that is not necessarily relevant to other local business arenas.
“Around the world, the value of a country’s defense sector to its economy is enormous. It exists to ensure sovereign security, of course, but the supply is much more than that, which civil society does not always realize. The technology required in this sector is able to drive further innovations which, sooner or later, can have a positive effect on civilian life.
“For example, the Internet exists today because it was originally part of a defense initiative in America, when the formation of the closed group ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), to facilitate communication between separate academic and research organizations that had contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, eventually evolved into the open global network that is today’s Internet. hui . And in the same way, the GPS The functionality of our smartphones makes it easier for us to move to places than to rely on maps or routes – because the technology behind the falling pins once came from a defense technological innovation. . “
From a local perspective, Ndlovu says South Africa’s defense sector technology has enabled the country to remain globally competitive for decades, helping to keep the economy from needing import certain technologies while creating jobs.
“The aerospace, marine and defense industries are extremely innovative and they can play a huge role in creating local jobs. The focus is not only on defense, but also on aerospace and security. It is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, with technology at its heart.
“South Africa is now famous around the world for its role in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Project, an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with one square kilometer of collection area. It will be co-located in South Africa and Australia, deploying thousands of radio telescopes, and will allow astronomers to survey the skies in unprecedented detail.
“Our participation in the project would not have been possible without the scientists and engineers who have been developed by the local defense sector, including using the efforts of the Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIR) . Likewise, South Africa’s modular nuclear reactor project would not have been possible without the aerospace and defense sector.
The World Economic Forum has predicted that innovative technology will create 58 million more jobs than it will remove from the global economy over the next few years. Opportunities are there for those who are willing and able to embrace change, and this includes diversifying their skills. .
Ndlovu adds: “The local defense sector has the capacity to train the brightest scientists and engineers in our country. Almost every advance in science and engineering has a duty to spill over into civilian life, over time, in an ultimately beneficial way.
“Within local communities, for example, we see SASSA cards for the social allowance payment system. People may not realize that the system is secure and properly operated precisely because of the technology that has been developed in the defense industry. “
Addressing the proverbial elephant in the room, Ndlovu noted: “The history of our country is closely linked to the legacy of the defense sector. Transformation is of course a very sensitive subject in our sector, for historical reasons. However, over the last 10 years or so, we have seen a pretty drastic improvement in terms of changes to reflect the demographics of the population.
“We are not yet at the desired levels, but we are working on it through our transformation charter, put in place two years ago. Transformation is a work in progress for this sector. the AMD is happy to play its role in sharing technology, creating jobs and improving the community, ”he concludes.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Association of South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defense Industries (AMD).
For more information:
South African Association of Aerospace, Maritime and Defense Industries
Phone. : 012 752 5880
Email: [email protected]
Thandi Chaotsane – Moticoe
Phone. : 071 600 2429
Email: [email protected]
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