THE strange thing about defence shows such as Africa Aerospace & Defence that concluded at the weekend at the Waterkloof Air Force base south of Pretoria, is that they reveal the chinks in the armour of defence industry hubris about its products. Underscoring this was a deafening live-fire demonstration, including SA’s Rooikat 6x6 armoured fighting vehicles and two Rooivalk attack helicopters, one still in its white UN paint after seeing combat against M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the Rooikat is the only African-made armoured fighting vehicle and the Rooivalk the only African-made attack helicopter, the sole client for Denel’s chopper since it first flew in 1985 has been SA’s 16 Squadron. However, this has not stopped the company from considering a new export version. Show organisers predicted that when the dust of the rotorwash and afterburners settled, 446 exhibitors from 34 countries would have drawn 30,000 trade visitors from 91 countries. But regular tr...

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