ACCAp program: Sabena Aerospace, Sonaca eye Belgium's future fighter jet support

World Defense & Security Industry News - Sabena Aerospace & Sonaca
ACCAp program: Sabena Aerospace, Sonaca eye Belgium's future fighter jet support
The two Belgium-based aerospace companies Sabena Aerospace and Sonaca yesterday launched the new joint venture Ignition! with the aim of winning the support contract for the Belgian Air Component’s future fighter jet. “We share proven and complementary skills, that we want to devote to army,” said Bernard Delvaux, CEO of Sonaca Group.
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We are first aiming at the maintenance market for Belgian Air Force F-16s successor and it will serve as a launching pad to win international contracts,” he added. The new Joint Venture will offer a wide range of services, such as logistical management and fleet maintenance, pilots training on flight simulators, and specific projects management.

Ignition! will have its own management, distinct from the founding companies. ”With Ignition!, the Belgian army will have a partner who will propose solid and technologically reliable solutions. If we succeed in landing the F-16 contract, we hope to create a hundred jobs. In 5 to 10 years, Ignition! can expect a turnover of 50 million euros in Belgium and abroad,” explained Stephane Burton, CEO of Sabena Aerospace.

The new Belgian JV will be based in Zaventem, in the direct neighbourhood of Brussels Airport. In the first three years, Ignition! will identify customer needs to make specific service proposals. Sonaca will bring its expertise in the manufacture of A400M airlifter parts and Sabena Aerospace in the BAF C-130H Hercules maintenance.

Ignition!’s major strength will certainly a service offer fully compatible to the three actual contenders bidding for the ACCap program: the Dassault Rafale, Lockheed Martin with the F-35A, and BAE Systems with the Eurofighter Typhoon.

With an annual turnover of 700 million euros, Sonaca Group currently employs 5,000 people, including LMI Aerospace. For more than 92 years, Sabena Aerospace has been supporting commercial and military aircraft. Beside the C-130 activities, Sabena Aerospace also supports the AWACS fleet of NATO for more than 25 years and repairs on various components for this fleet and other military aircraft, such as KC 135.