US-based Draken International has agreed to purchase 12 Cheetah fighter aircraft from Denel, which will be added to its current fleet of tactical aircraft and jets.
Draken supplies fighter jets to airforces across the globe for use in air support, pilot training and tactical exercises.
The latest South-African-designed fighters being procured include nine Cheetah C jets and three, dual-seat Cheetah D planes that can fly at a speed of Mach 2.2 and operate at ranges of more than 1,300km.
In addition to the aircraft delivery to the US, the deal covers return to service and flight acceptance tests in South Africa.
Under the terms of the agreement, Denel will provide post-delivery logistics support for the duration of aircraft operations.
Commenting on the deal, Denel Group CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe said that the agreement signed, “Is a major achievement for the South African defence industry, as other South African companies will form part of the logistics support programme.”
The Cheetah fighters were developed as a variant of the Mirage III for the South African Air Force.
The aircraft were later replaced by a new fleet of Saab Gripen fighter jets.
Denel Aeronautics CEO Mike Kgobe said that Denel has received a number of expressions of interest for the remaining Cheetah fleet since it delivered 12 fighters to the Ecuadorian Air Force in 2011.
Denel also provided logistics and technical support for the aircraft in terms of a contract that ended in 2016.