DENEL AVIATION RECEIVES
LOCKHEED MARTIN ACCREDITATION
By Maj James du Toit, Editor AD ASTRA Magazine
After a process that started some years ago Denel Aviation
in South Africa has now been accredited as the ninth
Lockheed Martin Service Centre in the world for the
maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of C-130 transport
aircraft. This process was formally officiated on 19 March
2009 in Waterkloof Ridge – Tshwane, when Lockheed Martin
handed over the certificate of approved C130 MRO to Denel
Although Denel Aviation had been supporting the SAAF’s fleet
of Hercules C-130 aircraft for decades, this formal
accreditation opens the way to a much bigger market.
Currently with no other official Lockheed Martin C-130
accredited service centre in Africa, both Lockheed Martin
and Denel Aviation saw the benefits of establishing the
service centre at Denel Aviation to serve the African
“With some 140 of these aircraft (C-130 and its L100 civil
version) in Africa, there is ample opportunity for Denel
Aviation,” explains Denel Aviation CEO Mr Ismail Dockrat.
“What we see today is the result of an earlier strategy to
align Denel Aviation with original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs) related to our product services. For us to be a
recognised C-130 MRO facility, Denel Aviation simply needed
to obtain Lockheed Martin accreditation.”
FLTR : Mr Tom Wetherall
(Lockheed Martin), Mr Ismail Dockrat (CEO Denel Aviation),
Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano (CAF), and Mr Jim Jameson (Lockheed
The process started as far back
as March 2007 when Lockheed Martin performed a site survey
of Denel Aviation’s MRO facilities adjacent to OR Tambo
International Airport near Johannesburg. The US firm audited
all Denel’s maintenance and support facilities, after which
Denel submitted a C-130 business case.
This now enables Denel Aviation to support all other C-130B
models through C-130H model operators outside the SAAF, of
which 14 are in Africa out of a global tally of 61
“As we have been working hard to achieve this status, I am
exceptionally pleased that our company can now expand its
activities into Africa and beyond,” Mr Dockrat said. “With
more than 40 years’ experience of aircraft maintenance and
support, we know that Denel Aviation can give customers the
Chief of the Air Force (CAF), Lt Gen Gagiano said: “The SAAF
feels threatened with the current A400M programme being
delayed – we need a strategic airlift capability”. Though
the SAAF has lost a lot of skilled personnel, “we need
collaboration with SAA to train some Reserve Force pilots,
and we need to join Denel with new partnerships. The next
step for the SAAF will be the implementation of the
Centurion Aviation Village on the southeastern side of the
Waterkloof airbase, where a part is allocated to Civil
Aviation Industry, with access to the Waterkloof runways.
This joined training facility will ensure aviation
effectiveness”, CAF said.
CAF stated with the C130, being one of the SAAF’s most
versatile aircraft, Lockheed Martin proved for the
best-maintained wings with an excellent safety record after
recent years’ corrosion problems the SAAF experienced. With
the new accreditation, it will ensure just that little more
oomph to the SAAF's fleet of C130’s.
General Gagiano concluded by congratulating Denel Aviation
with their accreditation certificate and wishing for a long
and healthy relationship.
Through this all the South African Air Force (SAAF) wishes
to pay tribute to Denel Aviation for their 47 years of
support to the SAAF’s Hercules C130 fleet.
More about Denel Aviation
Denel Aviation is primarily a military maintenance, repair
and overhaul (MRO) company. As a strategic partner to the
South African Air Force (SAAF), the company has supported
its fleet for more than 40 years. In recent years it
expanded its activities to give MRO support to local and
foreign clients on a wide range of fixed and rotary wing
In the past year Denel Aviation was successful in being
awarded Phase 2 of a SAAF contract for the avionics and
navigation system upgrade of the Oryx medium transport
helicopter fleet. The contract, running over a period of
four years, will extend the service life of this critical
aircraft system for at least another 15 years.
In 2007 Denel Aviation received Eurocopter accreditation as
a MRO centre, which provides for maintenance and repair of
Puma and Alouette helicopters, as well as for the mechanical
and dynamic components on the Oryx and Rooivalk fleets.
Denel Aviation recently also completed the Hawk final
assembly with delivery of the last of these new trainer
aircraft to the SAAF.