Girish Mahajan

Atlas Aircraft Corporation

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Founded  1965
Atlas Aircraft Corporation httpsfarm8staticflickrcom70086628452063d09

The Atlas Aircraft Corporation of South Africa (also known as Atlas Aviation) was established in 1965 to manufacture a number of sophisticated military aircraft and avionics equipment for the South African Air Force, as well as for export. It was established primarily to circumvent the international arms embargo (United Nations Security Council Resolution 418) commenced in 1963 against the South African government because of its Apartheid policies.


With the establishment in 1968 of the South African government-owned conglomerate named Armscor (Armaments Corporation of South Africa), the Atlas Aircraft Corporation was also brought under Armscor's control.

In 1992 Atlas was absorbed into a new entity known as Denel, becoming part of Denel Aviation.

Production aircraft

Atlas built and maintained a variety of aircraft:

  • Impala Mk.I (the Aermacchi MB-326 two-seat military jet trainer aircraft designed in Italy and the Impala Mk.II, a single seat light-attack version.)
  • Atlas Cheetah (a fighter aircraft built as an upgrade of the Dassault Mirage III.)
  • Oryx (an upgraded version of the Aérospatiale Puma helicopter.)
  • Bosbok (Italian designed light observation aircraft.)
  • Kudu (South African designed light utility aircraft based on the Bosbok.)
  • Atlas also assisted the South African Air Force to maintain its fleet of planes that had been purchased (mostly) prior to the onset of sanctions in the 1970s.

    Prototypes and unbuilt aircraft

  • Atlas ACE
  • XH-1 Alpha - based on Aérospatiale Alouette III
  • XTP-1 Beta - based on Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma
  • Carver
  • Rooivalk - The Rooivalk project began in 1981 under the auspices of the Atlas Aircraft Corporation and went into production only after the company changed its name to Denel Aviation.
  • References

    Atlas Aircraft Corporation Wikipedia

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