Chargé d’Affaires of the US mission to South Africa Jessye Lapenn said her nation is honoured to numerous other countries and companies showcasing their military products and capabilities at this year's Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition in Pretoria. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA

PRETORIA - The United States of America on Wednesday said it felt honoured to be part of the massive Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition (AAD2018) which kicked off in Pretoria with several American companies joining other entities and nations showcasing their military products, capabilities and weaponry.

"It is such an honour to be here with all of you today, to open what I understand is the largest of the national pavilions this year. The USA pavilion, I don't doubt, will be one of the main attractions for the many trade professionals visiting the AAD this week," said Chargé d’Affaires of the US mission to South Africa, Jessye Lapenn.

"The United States has been a leader in aerospace development, literally from the beginning of man's flight and a leader in developing military and defence products for even longer."

Lapenn said the aerospace sector represents "one of America's proudest areas of achievement". She recounted American pioneer aviators including the The Wright brothers - Orville and Wilbur, and Neil Armstrong - the American astronaut and aeronautical engineer who was the first person to walk on the moon.

"I am quite certain, the Wright brothers could never had imagined the kind of advances and technology our US aerospace industry now sees. I am very proud of America's innovation and strength in aerospace as evidenced in the state-of-the-art products and services offered here today," she said.

The USA Partnership Pavilion, will be where more than 30 US-based companies will exhibit during the five-day military extravaganza. The US companies are using the AAD2018 to deepen connections with private sector and government representatives from South Africa and numerous other countries taking part this year.

"We recognize that in addition to showcasing our products, events like these provide an opportunity to exchange ideas, to create connections, build partnerships with local, regional and international counterparts. These partnerships advance business, and they also advance technology, innovation, [and] knowledge," said Lapenn.

"They [platforms like the AAD] also create a platform to address some of our most significant, most pressing multinational challenges - whether it's illicit fishing with maritime patrol solutions, reducing wildlife poaching through border surveillance or better logistical operations to spread peace keeping operations."

Fourteen new American exhibitors are joining the show this year, "reflecting America’s continued investment in creating new partnerships that contribute to increased mutual prosperity for both South Africa and the United States".

The AAD is described by the South African National Defence Force as "the largest defence and aerospace exhibition in Africa and the only one of its kind, boasting the successful format of a combined exhibition of air, sea and land technologies, a static aircraft display and an air show".

- African News Agency (ANA)