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Tuesday, October 11, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

17 years after apartheid, South African military still supplied by Israel

LONDON — Nearly 20 years after the end of apartheid, South Africa continues to buy military systems from Israel, a report said.


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Israel has sold an aircraft system to the South African Air Force. The system was identified as the Litening navigation and targeting pod, manufactured by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

"South Africa received several targeting pods for use with South African guided bombs on Swedish-supplied Gripen combat aircraft," SIPRI said.

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In a report dated Oct. 7, the European institute said the South African purchase of Litening took place in 2009. The deal was one of the few South African orders of major Israeli equipment since apartheid ended in 1994.

Titled "Israeli Arms Transfers to Sub-Saharan Africa," author Siemon Wezeman said Israel accounted for less than one percent of major weapons transfers to sub-Saharan Africa from 2006 through 2010. The report said Israel delivered mainly artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, armored vehicles and patrol craft.

"However, in addition to major weapons, Israel also supplied small arms and light weapons, military electronics and training to several countries in the region," the report said. "Israeli weapons, trainers and brokers have been observed in numerous African trouble spots and may play a bigger role than their numbers imply."

SIPRI said over the last five years Africa comprised less than two percent of Israeli weapons exports. The report identified Israeli clients in sub-Saharan Africa as Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda.

"Nigeria is the largest African importer of Israeli weapons, accounting for almost 50 percent of Israeli deliveries to sub-Saharan states," the report said. "The value reported in 2009 of recently signed Israeli deals with Nigeria, most likely since 2006, was $500 million."

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