South Africa's state-owned arms manufacturer Denel Group has signed a 1 billion rand (143 million U.S. dollars) deal with Brazil to co-develop a new-generation missile, the company announced on Wednesday.
Denel Dynamics, the missile and unmanned aerial vehicle division of Denel, launched the latest generation of the A-Darter air-to-air missile program developed for the South African National Defense (SANDF) and the Brazilian Air Force.
"The co-development of the missile... not only brings much- needed skills, training and technology transfer to the country, but also reinforces the South-South cooperation initiated by (South African) President (Thabo) Mbeki and his counterpart," Denel's spokesman Joe Makhafola was quoted as saying by the SAPA news agency.
A-Darter is a fifth-generation air-to-air missile system designed to meet the challenges of future air combat against next generation fighters in a hostile ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) environment, the company said on its website.
The launch took place during the Latin American aerospace and defense exhibition, which was held last week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"The A-Darter missile is vitally important to the aerospace cluster in equipping the aircraft of both air forces," said Makhafola.
At least 200 engineers would be employed over the duration of the contract.
Makhafola said 10 Brazilian Air Force members had begun work on the program at the Denel Dynamics plant, and would be supplemented by a further 20 people from the Brazilian defense companies.
He said future export contracts of another 2 billion rand were expected in the next 15-year period.