05 May 2014 defenceWeb
The technical support offered by the Denel Overberg Test Range (OTR) has again been put to good use this time by the Luftwaffe for testing of its Taurus air-to-ground missile.
Four Tornado fighters and 115 German Air Force personnel were involved in the recent exercise at the southern Cape range near Arniston.
The tests included live firings and missile quality assurance testing. Close air support and low flying manoeuvres were an integral part of the exercise.
“The testing campaign confirms the test range’s reputation as an internationally recognised centre for testing and evaluation. In recent years we have hosted tests for various clients in Europe and the Far East providing world-class and cost-effective facilities for test programmes,” said Abrie van der Walt, Denel OTR chief executive.
For the German exercise the Test Range deployed a wide spectrum of instrumentation systems for measurement. Command and control was set up to ensure operational evaluation criteria could be met during each mission. All the flight data were collected and displayed in real time at the Test Range’s control room.
Van der Walt said test support included capturing of trajectory and telemetry data during launches as well as provision of flying targets for pilots to practice aircraft gun employment.
With more than 43 000 hectares of terrain and almost 70 km of uninhabited coastline, the Test Range is a perfect arena for testing stand-off weapon systems. Topographic conditions over land allow for individual mission planning and evaluation of weapons systems.
The testing was preceded by an extensive logistical effort co-ordinated by Denel.
This saw more than 60 tons of technical equipment transported to AFB Overberg in an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft; the rest of the equipment was shipped in 20 sea containers from Bremerhaven in Germany to Cape Town; the four Tornadoes flew in from Büchel Air Base in Germany with stop-overs at the Canary Islands and Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. A US Air Force KC-10 tanker aircraft accompanied the fighters to do in-flight refuelling along the 10 000 km journey.
Luftwaffe Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Mbassa was fulsome in his thanks to both Denel and the AFB Overberg for contributing to the success of the exercise. This was the eighth testing of the Taurus since 2000 and he said the Luftwaffe was looking forward to working with and at the Denel Overberg Test Range in the future.