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Johannesburg - Denel Aerostructures was awarded a multi-million rand deal to make parts for an international military airbus, the company announced on Wednesday.

“The contract is valued at more than R260 million... The company will manufacture a combination of aluminium rails and cross-tracks to be fitted into the cargo hold of each of the giant aircraft which are to be delivered to international clients over the next six years,” the company said in a statement.

The contract would benefit local businesses within the industry.

“The contract will cascade down to other companies in the aerospace and high tech sectors with some of the manufacturing processes being sub-contracted to Denel's Aerostructures' local supplier base.

Group chief executive Riaz Saloojee saw it as an endorsement of the country's engineering and manufacturing industry.

“It is a vote of confidence in the South African engineering and high-tech manufacturing sectors. The tender was won through a bidding process against international competitors,” Saloojee was quoted as saying in a statement.

Production of the aircraft had already started and the components were expected to be delivered to Germany by September.

The company had an existing partnership with Airbus Defence to manufacture other parts of the plane.

The new contract strengthened the company's relationship with Airbus Defence and Space, and signalled the experience in South African manufacturing to the global aerospace sector. - Sapa