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4 juillet 2014 5 04 /07 /juillet /2014 07:45
Denel Dynamics poised for growth

 

03 July 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Denel Dynamics is poised for growth.Missiles and aerospace house Denel Dynamics plans to nearly double is revenue over the next five years to nearly R2 billion and will do so in part by investing in new products and growing skills.

 

Denel Dynamics is hoping to achieve revenue of R1.8 billion for 2019 and R152 million in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), compared to revenue of R999 million in 2013 and EBIT of R21 million (EBIT for 2012 was R40 million, according to Denel's 2013 annual report). Speaking at Denel Dynamics' recent Show and Tell, Dynamics CEO Tsepo Monaheng estimated that Denel Dynamics would grow by an average 12% year-on-year in the next five years.

 

The company also seeks to grow the number of employees from 872 to 942 and increase investment in skills development by 50%. Monaheng said growing skills is a big challenge - one strategy is to design a Specialised Technical Training (STT) program for employees under age of 35. Monaheng said that there is a crisis situation regarding skilled employment, especially of young people.

 

He also cautioned that the competition is aggressive as major manufacturers in the industry are moving into Denel's traditional markets as their home markets dry up. He said that South Africa is looking up to Denel Dynamics to deliver on hi-tech systems and solutions. "South Africa should be the country of choice to partner and do business with, the continent is looking up to us for solutions," he said, adding that Denel Dynamics has to not only continue to develop products for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) but also position to compete in the international market.

 

Developing products for the SANDF is especially important in light of the Defence Review, which expects Denel to be responsible for sovereign capabilities such as commander and control.

 

Part of Denel Dynamics' strategy going forward is to keep developing new technology and focus on research and development. Christo de Kock, Chief Operations Executive at Denel Dynamics, said it was necessary to evolve and change especially in light of the fact that six out of the ten major conflict areas in the world are in Africa.

 

He noted that conflicts are starting more quickly and lasting longer and that warfare is changing and becoming increasingly asymmetric. Cities are more frequently becoming battlegrounds while the nature of warfare is changing - for instance cyber warfare and economic warfare are on the rise while organised crime syndicates and cartels are having a destabilising effect on certain countries - the Mexican drug cartels are a good example.

 

As a result of these changes, certain requirements are emerging for things like unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned ground vehicles, unmanned marine systems, static observation sensors, precision weapons, man-portable weapons, weapons with targeted warheads and precision target marking and engagement, de Kock said.

 

On the protection side, de Kock said that vehicles, bunkers, assets, convoys etc. require protection, both active and passive, such as counter-artillery, rocket and mortar munitions and IED jammers. Another requirement he identified was the need for stealth, particularly a stealth anti-tank missile to defeat countermeasures systems as well an infrared stealth for vehicles.

 

Denel Dynamics is delving into all these areas (unmanned systems, space, sensors, stealth, and precision weapons) through various projects, many of which are funded by Armscor and the Department of Defence.

 

De Kock said that it is important to establish a research facility to look at future needs and solutions and that Denel Dynamics will do that and prioritise effort based on the SANDF's needs.

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2 juillet 2014 3 02 /07 /juillet /2014 07:45
Mechem about to ship first Casspir wide body ambulances

 

01 July 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Specialist Denel division Mechem is about to ship off the first three wide body ambulance versions of its popular Casspir armoured personnel carrier and will deliver them to the United Nations in Somalia.

 

The United Nations and Angola are the launch customers of the wide body ambulance, the latest version of the Casspir NG2000, development of which was completed in 2012. The United Nations will use the vehicles as part of the Amisom hybrid African Union and UN mission in Somalia.

 

Ashley Williams, General Manager of Mechem, told defenceWeb that the vehicles would be shipped out within a week. He said the wide body ambulance has the same dimensions as the Rinkhals armoured ambulance and can accommodate four lying and two sitting patients plus two medics. The vehicle is fully equipped to treat any operational casualty. Older generation Casspir ambulances were much more confined and could only accommodate two stretchers, one sitting patient and a medic.

 

The new generation NG2000 Casspirs feature more powerful engines and better manufacturing techniques than their predecessors and can withstand a 21 kg TNG blast under a wheel and a 14 kg blast under the hull. Various Casspir NG2000 variants are available, including cargo, water, fuel, command and control, infantry fighting, and recovery. To meet customer demand, the vehicles can be fitted with different drivetrains, such as Mercedes or Powerstar South Africa.

 

Williams said that Mechem was mainly focusing on Casspirs as there is still a big need for them. Mechem also offers armoured truck cabs and two countries are interested in this product at the moment. Benin became the launch customer for the armoured trucks and has also bought Casspir NG2000s.

 

Because customers often want fast turnaround times on vehicle deliveries, Mechem has decided to keep a small stock of vehicles, with around 15-20 Casspirs as stock on hand.

 

Williams said an African country has just signed a large vehicle order but the contract is still being finalised. He estimated demand for 50 to 100 Casspirs a year – Mechem sold 50 last year.

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1 juillet 2014 2 01 /07 /juillet /2014 16:45
The new Armscor board

 

01 July 2014 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb

 

New Armscor chairman Vice Admiral (ret) Johannes Mudimu can call on expertise ranging from legal through to foreign investment as well as procurement and acquisition when he and his board members take decisions on acquisitions for the South African defence and security sector.

 

Former South African ambassador to France and UNESCO, Thuthukile Skweyiya, is Mudimu’s deputy on the new 10-strong Armscor board announced by Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, in May.

 

According to Armscor her tenure as ambassador to France saw “an unprecedented amount of foreign direct investment, including but not limited to, the SAA/Airbus contract, Pechiney, Alcatel and various empowerment projects in the South African wine industry”.

 

Bethuel Mobu brings to the Armscor board “depth and breadth in the procurement/acquisition environment”. He is currently General Manager: Tactical Procurement at Eskom and was previously group procurement specialist at the Airports Company of SA (ACSA) and Group Executive: Supply Chain Management at the SA Post Office. He currently chairs the State-owned Enterprise Forum and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

 

Legal expertise on the new Armscor board comes from advocates Virginia Lee Anne De la Hunt and Sesi Baloyi. De la Hunt is a practising advocate and member of the Cape Town bar while Baloyi is a member of the Victoria Mxenge Group of Advocates and a member of the Johannesburg Bar.

 

Raymond Vokwana was deputy director general of the Defence Service Commission and is now a businessman with interests in mining, manufacturing, ICT and financial services. According to Armscor he was also a senior manager at the National Intelligence Agency and the SA Secret Service.

 

Dr Moses Khanyile is currently General Manager: Strategy and Business Sustainment at ABSA. He was previously Chief Director: Strategic Planning at the Department of Defence and at the University of Stellenbosch’s Centre for Military Studies.

 

Ndumiso Tyibilika is a registered professional engineer who holds a Government Certificate of Competence (factories) and is a member of the SA Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He has previously worked at one of the Denel divisions in addition to holding positions at Eskom, Amcoal and Caltex.

 

The two remaining Armscor board positions are filled by Sipho Mkwanazi, who has been acting chief executive since November 2009, and chief financial officer, Gerhard Grobler.

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18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 12:45
Une flotte de la marine chinoise en visite en Afrique du Sud

 

18.06.2014 Source: Xinhua

 

Une flotte de la marine chinoise a jeté l'ancre à Victoria Bay, au Cap, dernière étape de sa tournée africaine de huit pays, et a été accueillie par plus de 1.000 personnes.

 

Le contre-amiral Robert Higgs de la marine sud-africaine a déclaré dans son discours d'accueil que la visite symbolise l' amitié et la coopération croissante entre l'Afrique du Sud et la Chine, qui permettra également de renforcer la coopération entre les marines des deux pays.

 

L'officier a expliqué que pendant la visite, il y aura une série d'activités entre l'Escort Task Group et la marine sud- africaine. Les Sud-africains pourront également visiter les deux frégates anti-missiles modernes.

 

Ensemble, les deux pays peuvent beaucoup contribuer à la paix dans la région et dans le monde, a souligné le contre-amiral Higgs.

 

L'ambassadeur chinois en Afrique du Sud, Tian Xuejun, a déclaré que la visite intervient dans une période où la Chine et l'Afrique enregistrent des avancées rapides et solides au niveau du partenariat stratégique sino-sud-africain établi depuis quelques années.

 

"Cette visite de l'Escort Task Group est un symbole important des échanges et de la coopération amicale entre la Chine et l' Afrique du Sud et entre les armées chinoises et sud-africaines", a poursuivi M. Tian.

 

Comprenant deux frégates anti-missiles et un navire d' approvisionnement, l'Escort Task Group a effectué un voyage d' environ 200 jours, traversant l'océan Pacifique, l'océan Indien, la mer Méditerranée et l'océan Atlantique avant d'amarrer en Afrique du Sud.

 

Ces six dernières années, l'Escort Task Group a participé à des missions d'escorte dans le golfe d'Aden et dans les eaux au large de la Somalie, accompagnant plus de 5.500 navires.

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18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 07:45
Denel PMP to double turnover to R1 billion

 

17 June 2014 by defenceWeb

 

Munitions company Denel PMP aims to double its turnover to over R1 billion over the next five years as it grows its presence in Africa and meets the growing requirements of the local market.

 

Phaladi Petje, CEO of the Pretoria West-based company, says PMP will be embarking on a plant-renewal programme to modernise its machinery and production processes.

 

“We will also increase our research and development capacity. PMP is set to become the ammunition solution partner of choice both in South Africa, across the continent and in any of the markets we are targeting,” said Petje.

 

The Defence Review, presented to Parliament earlier this year, has highlighted the need for self-sufficiency in the provision of ammunition not only to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), but the security cluster as a whole. “PMP is in an excellent position to meet all the SANDF’s current and future needs for small and medium calibre ammunition,” according to Petje.

 

“We have been in this business for more than 75 years and the experience gained over this period will enable us to meet the challenges emanating from the local defence community.”

 

The state-owned company has a strong relationship with the SANDF and Armscor that covers product development and testing to the ultimate production and delivery as well as after sales service, proofing and destruction of ammunition. “We offer our clients a complete life cycle management approach,” said Petje.

 

The company intends to build a similar relationship with the SA Police Service, metro police forces and the private security industry, Denel said in a statement today. “We can meet almost the entire local demand for small calibre ammunition in the defence and security sectors,” he said.

 

Petje also foresees significant opportunities for business growth on the rest of the African continent. The company now manufactures 7.62 mm calibre ammunition for the well-known AK-47 assault rifle as well as a range of 23 mm ammunition widely used by African defence forces. Denel PMP has formed strategic relationships with companies in Europe whilst similar mutually beneficial relationships are being pursued in Africa and within the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) partnership, the company said.

 

More than 40% of PMP current production of ammunition is destined for the export market (export revenue amounted to R185 million last year, while total revenue was R531 million). Petje said that “innovation is at the core of the company’s future” and Denel is working together with Armscor, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and local universities on various research and new product developments.

 

PMP specialises in manufacturing small- and medium-calibre ammunition and technology-related products for military and commercial use. It also manufactures crew escape systems and power cartridges for local and international clients. The company supplies handgun and rifle ammunition to the commercial sector. It also provides the mining industry with drill bits and the electrical manufacturing sector with brass strip. These are commercial products that are derived from defence technology. Lead styphnate and lead azide are supplied to the chemical industry for the manufacture of detonators for the mining industry.

 

PMP’s main range of products include small-calibre ammunition ranging from 5.56 mm to 12.7 mm and medium-calibre ranges of ammunition from 20 mm to 35 mm and percussion caps of all types, as well as links for various small- and medium-calibre rounds.

 

PMP also produces power cartridges, rocket motors and canopy fragilisation systems for the safe ejection of pilots from aircraft; Probit rock drill bits for the mining industry and primary explosives and explosive products for commercial use in the private sector.

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12 juin 2014 4 12 /06 /juin /2014 10:45
Airbus still promoting A400M, C295 to South Africa

 

10 June 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Airbus Defence and Space is still hopeful South Africa will buy A400M strategic transport aircraft and is promoting it and the C295 light transport to the South African Air Force (SAAF).

 

According to Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan, Vice President Commercial at Airbus Military, the company is “absolutely interested” in offering the A400M as a replacement for the SAAF’s C-130 Hercules, which are due to be retired in 2020. “We want to be back in South Africa. Yes, there is a need for maritime patrol and a certain need for tactical and strategic transport.”

 

He told defenceWeb Airbus is keeping its work packages with Denel and Aerosud in place not just because they do a good job manufacturing A400M components but because Airbus is hoping for an order from South Africa. Airbus kept South Africa’s A400M workshare in place even after the government cancelled an order for eight A400Ms in 2009. Denel and Aerosud manufacture parts for the A400M, including the wing to fuselage fairing and other large components.

 

Barberan said South Africa has a need for an aircraft like the A400M, especially since its diplomatic and regional ambitions require it to move cargo and equipment to places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for peacekeeping missions or to places like Sudan for humanitarian missions. Rather than chartering aircraft like the An-124 and Il-76, an A400M could fly supplies directly to where needed most, even if only an unprepared airstrip is available.

 

He said the A400M was not competing on price but on capability terms. Barberan estimated South Africa would need four A400Ms as a first step to establishing a modern airlift facility.

 

The first export production slots for the A400M will become available in 2017 and it will be around three years after an order is placed that aircraft could be delivered so if South Africa is to retire the C-130 in 2020, it needs to make a decision within the next few years.

 

Barberan said he hoped to have an A400M export customer by the end of this year. Airbus began actively promoting the aircraft for export last year and hopes to sell between 300 and 400 on the export market over the next 30 years, capturing a 50% market share.

 

Airbus is also promoting the CN235/C295 to the SAAF to meet its maritime surveillance requirements. The company brought out a C295 in 2012, which was demonstrated to the local air force. However, Barberan could not say when the SAAF might place an order for a new maritime surveillance platform, especially as funding is problematic. His company is aiming to sell the maritime patrol variant to South Africa, which features sensors such as a radar and electro-optical pods as well as a roll on/roll off mission suite that would allow the aircraft to be used purely in the cargo role as well.

 

Guy Martin is in Spain as a guest of Airbus Defence and Space.

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14 mai 2014 3 14 /05 /mai /2014 07:45
NCACC approved contracts worth R79.8 billion in 2013

A Casspir APC

 

13 May 2014 by defenceWeb

 

The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) approved 288 contracting permits for South African manufacturers worth R79.8 billion last year, which was a significant drop from the previous year.

 

Figures released to parliament showed the permits applied to about 70 countries. The NCACC also approved 2 110 import permits that included 195 machineguns worth R172 473 from Zimbabwe. Export permits of R3.1 billion were approved last year.

 

Last year’s figures are down significantly compared to 2012, when 398 contracting permits worth R171 billion were approved. 3 663 export permits worth R10.6 billion were approved in 2012.

 

Last year exports to the United States fell from R5.1 billion to R600 million, most likely as a result of their withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and the subsequent oversupply of armoured vehicles on the global market.

 

Some of the exports last year included an order worth R71 million from the United Nations for Casspir armoured personnel carriers; an order from Sweden for 161 RG-32 Scout vehicles, and an order for 12 armoured combat vehicles valued at R42.3 million from Equatorial Guinea.

 

NCACC chair, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, said armoured personnel carriers and other armoured vehicles were exported to countries such as Benin, Finland, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Radio equipment and computers to the value of R18.7 million were exported to Egypt.

 

Bombs and rockets were supplied to Botswana, Denmark, the Philippines, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ammunition was exported to Botswana, Chad (7 100 rounds of 90 mm ammunition, to the value of R25.9 million), Lesotho, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Turkey the UAE and Zambia, reports Business Day.

 

The NCACC report noted that a Crusader Mk VI tank was donated by the Department of Defence to Jordan.

 

Radebe, in a letter to parliament, said the annual report covering January 1, 2013, to December 1, 2013, for the first time provides more detail about arms sales as required by the amended NCAC Act, reports Business Day.

 

"We welcome the NCACC’s new enhanced annual reports, which now disclose significantly more information on conventional arms transfers to Parliament. These reports will go a long way to improve levels of transparency and accountability of the defence industry in SA," said opposition Democratic Alliance party shadow defence minister David Maynier, who cautioned that the numerous “highly questionable conventional arms transfers” needed to be scrutinised.

 

In 2011 the NCACC issued 369 contracting permits worth R32.59 billion and3 672 export permits worth R9.18 billion. For 2010, the NCACC issued 345 contracting permits worth R27.7 billion and 3 536 export permits worth R8.3 billion. It approved contracting permits worth R82.5 billion for the calendar year 2009, which was over four times more than the R19.586 billion for the 2008 calendar year.

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7 mai 2014 3 07 /05 /mai /2014 07:45
A hundred and 10 not out for the Transvaal Horse Artillery

 

29 April 2014 defenceWeb

 

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Transvaal Horse Artillery, one of the stalwart units of the SA Army Reserve.

 

“The long and hard fought war in South Africa, which culminated in the Treaty of Vereeniging, signed on 31 May 1902 and the withdrawal of the bulk of British forces from the country led eventually to the establishment of volunteer corps in the new Crown Colony of the Transvaal.

 

“One of these units was the battery of artillery known as the Lys Volunteer Corps, named after its founder, Major G Lys. Established in March 1904, the first volunteers were enrolled on 30 March1904. Six months later the name of the battery was changed and became The Transvaal Horse Artillery Volunteers. In January 1907 it was renamed The Transvaal Horse Artillery (THA),” according to Defence Reserves.

 

“A second battery was raised in 1905 and a section was later formed in Pretoria but only one battery was accepted into the then active Citizen Force when it was established in July 1913.

 

“At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the THA volunteered to serve and were enlisted for active duty as the THA Battery (SAMR) and in this guise one section of the battery fought its first war-time action at Sandfontein, in German South West Africa (GSWA), in September 1914. Unfortunately the small force which included two guns had been led into a trap and was forced to surrender.

 

“Reformed as a four-gun battery, the THA returned to GSWA by way of Walvis Bay in late February 1915 and joined Colonel Coen Brits’ mobile column. The gunners distinguished themselves at Riet, completely outshooting the six German guns in the foothills of the Langer Heinrich.

 

“Alongside the 1st Mounted Brigade, THA took part in the remarkable desert march of 376 miles in 21 days from Usakos to Namutoni which outflanked the German defences and brought about their eventual surrender. The last 200 miles were covered in ten days and from Lemputz the battery had moved 52 miles in 52 hours, without water.

 

“There was little training in the years after the war due to the economic situation but the battery was mobilised when martial law was declared in March 1922 as a result of an armed strike by miners. The 1930s saw an increase in the establishment of THA to a brigade of three batteries. Mobilised for war in 1939 the THA Brigade moved to Potchefstroom at the end of October where, on 1 February 1940, it became 3rd Field Brigade (THA).

 

“The brigade left Potchefstroom for East Africa in September 1940 with 18-pdr MK II and MKIV guns but in January 1941 Ninth Field Battery was ordered to exchange their guns for the 4.5 inch howitzers of 11th Field Battery. The brigade fought with other South African artillery units through the rigours of the East African campaign in support, of the First SA Division and the 12th African Division together with Fourth and Seventh Field Brigades and 1st Field Battery (CFA).

 

“Once the campaign was nearing its end, the South African artillery units moved to Egypt in August 1941. THA handed in their old guns and were issued with 25 pounders, at the same time undergoing conversion training, to become 3 Field Regiment (V) South African Artillery (THA).

 

“The regiment moved to Mersa Matruh and with the commencement of the Crusader offensive it went forward with First SA Division to become involved in what a brigadier later described as ‘…the bloodiest and most heroic encounter of the war’, the Battle of Sidi Rezegh. It took place on 23 November 1942, Tottensondag to the Germans; the Sunday of the Dead was to live up to its name.

 

“Attacked by the Afrika Korps, the gunners fought over open sights in rising smoke and dust. Casualties were heavy on both sides. The war diary of 22nd Armoured Brigade recorded that the South African gunners ‘had been magnificent’ and a simple soldier said ‘… they gave it stick, they never faltered.’

 

“Remnants of the unit escaped the tide of German armour but by 1 December 1942 only 375 officers and men answered roll call at Mersa Matruh. A few more trickled in over the coming days. The regiment had managed to extract five of its 24 guns from the scene of battle and later recovered ten guns from the battlefield, seven of which were those of THA.

 

“Reinforced and re-equipped but lacking adequate transport, 8th Field Battery moved to Gazala at the end of January 1942, followed by 7th Field Battery a month later. RHQ and 9th Field Battery remained at Matruh to calibrate guns and provide live shell shoots for courses, before moving to Tobruk at the end of April. They were joined by 8th Field Battery and most personnel were taken prisoner when Tobruk fell to the Afrika Korps on 21 June 1942. A party of 8th Field Battery managed to escape with the Reserve Company of the Coldstream Guards.

 

“7th Field Battery attached to the 7th Field Regiment, was badly hurt in the withdrawal from Gazala, the entire regiment reaching Alamein in a parlous state. Reinforced by officers and men from 5 Field Regiment, 7th Field Regiment (with the THA battery) fought at Alamein from July to the final battle in October.

 

“The Transvaal Horse Artillery (V) was depleted at Tobruk and was removed from the Order of Battle, together with 2 Field Regiment (NFA).

 

“Transvaal Horse Artillery was represented during the Italian Campaign of 1944/45 by 7/64 Field Artillery (V), South African Artillery (TH.) One of the three batteries combined with those of 22 Field Regiment to form 4/22 Field Regiment, equipped first with 105mm Priests and later 25-pdr Sextons.

 

“The pre-war brigade was resuscitated on 1 January 1946 as 3rd Field Regiment (THA) and commenced annual peace-time training camps. Its next call to action was in January 1976 in support of 72 Motorised Brigade in Operation Budgie, following Operation Savannah. Recalling its war-time activities the batteries of  the regiment were, as in 1946, numbered 7, 8 and 9 and 8th battery was the first, during the Operation to be equipped with the 140mm gun (GV2) whilst the other three batteries were equipped with 25pdrs (GV1s). The fourth battery was (incorrectly) numbered 10th Battery.

 

“Several tours of duty on the SWA/Namibian border were subsequently undertaken including Operation Protea where the THA was equipped with the GV4 155mm gun. On two occasions THA was employed as infantry in Northern South West Africa and Angola. The regiment also served in COIN roles during the periods of unrest which preceded the change of government in 1994.

 

“The Freedom of Johannesburg was awarded to the regiment in 1964 and in 1986 THA took part in a mechanised parade to celebrate the Centenary of the City of Johannesburg. Four years later Johannesburg Artillery Regiment (previously 2 Locating Regiment) and 7 Medium Regiment were amalgamated with THA, the latter retaining its traditional name.

 

“The regiment celebrated its centenary in March 2004 with a well attended dinner at the Rand Club and by exercising its freedom of entry into the City of Johannesburg with both a mechanised and a marching column.

 

“In 2006 THA was tasked with providing ceremonial gun salutes within the Gauteng province.

 

“The regiment was affiliated with the Honourable Artillery Company on 13 August 1937. On the 11 June 2007 THA shared a Royal Salute alongside the HAC at the traditional saluting base, the Tower of London, in honour of the Official Birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh, Consort to Queen Elizabeth II. It was the first time that any non-Commonwealth Troops participated in such an event in the United Kingdom.

 

“In recent years the Regiment has been active in Continuation Training activities with members reporting once a month to the School of Artillery in Klipdrift outside Potchefstroom for training on the Prime Mission Equipment in groups and teams. This culminated in October 2013 when the THA provided core personnel for a Medium Self Propelled Battery during Exercise Rhino at Sheldon’s Rest Military Base and on Dirkie Uys Range in Potchefstroom. The THA exercise alongside their regular counterparts from 4 Artillery Regiment and also with members of Natal Field Artillery.

 

“On 16 December 2013 the THA had the honour of firing a 21 gun National Salute for the President at the Official Parade to Commemorate the Day of Reconciliation and also in honour of the late President Nelson Rohilala Mandela at the occasion of the unveiling of this statue at the Union Buildings.

“Later this year the Regiment will commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Sandfontein which took place in Southern Namibia on the 26th September 1914.

 

“The THA is under command of the SA Army Artillery Formation and the Regimental Headquarters is currently located at Mount Collins, Kelvin, Sandton.

 

“The current ordnance of the THA is the GV6 155mm Self-Propelled Gun/Howitzer.”

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7 mai 2014 3 07 /05 /mai /2014 07:45
Luftwaffe conducts successful missile firing tests at Overberg

Luftwaffe conducts successful missile firing tests at Overberg

 

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.

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7 mai 2014 3 07 /05 /mai /2014 07:30
Turkish Navy in live fire exercises at South African range

 

02 May 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb

 

The Turkish Navy task group arriving in South Africa on Monday will spend a number of days conducting live weapon firings of surface-to-air missiles at the Denel Overberg Test Range.

 

The Barbaros Turkish Naval Task Group - 2014 (TMTG-14) departed Turkish Naval Base Gölcük on March 17 to start its 102 day circumnavigation of Africa. The Task Group comprises the frigates TCG Gediz (F-495), TCG Orucreis (F-245), the corvette TCG Heybeliada (F-511) and the replenishment tanker TCG Yarbay Kudret Gungor (A-595). TMTG-14 is expected to return to base on June 27, 2014.

 

The mission, dubbed “Over the Horizon,” is a demonstration of Turkish naval capability and support to Turkish foreign policy, during which the Barbaros Task Group will circumnavigate the African continent, making port calls in a total of 26 African states.

 

According to the Turkish Navy (Türk Donanması), further objectives of TMTG-14 are to contribute to the safety and maritime security of sea lanes, establishment of new or improved bilateral relations with African nations, support to African nation’s capacity building efforts in maritime security and bilateral/multi-national training and exercises.

 

This includes maritime security and boarding training with the SA Navy in Simon’s Town as well as in Lagos, Nigeria; Pointe-Noire, Congo; Luanda, Angola and Mombasa, Kenya.

 

The Barbaros Task Group took part in the Obangame Express Exercise from April 19 to 21 in Lagos, Nigeria. This exercise was planned by the United States Africa Command (Africom) and is an at-sea maritime exercise aimed at bettering co-operation among participating countries to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. Its focus is maritime interdiction as well as boarding, search and seizure operations.

 

The Barbaros Task Group is expected to arrive in Simons’ town on May 5. From there it will depart directly to the Denel Overberg Test Range in the Overberg region on the southern coast before returning to Simons' town on May 9. The Task Group will conduct live ammunition and guided missile firing exercises at the advanced weapons systems testing facility. This will include the use of the SM-1 Standard medium-range surface-to-air missile, the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow ship-borne short-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapon system, the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) infrared homing surface-to-air missile and the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) systems.

 

The Barbaros Task Group will make a port call in Cape Town from May 10 to 15, with three warships docking at the V&A Waterfront in Table Bay Harbour. The exact dates and hours of public visits will be announced later.

 

 

After departure from Cape Town, TMTG-14 will visit east African countries and provide support to anti-piracy operations and contribute to maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

 

The Barbaros Task Group will also conduct humanitarian assistance activities and exhibit Turkish national defence industry products at the various ports of call.

 

Whilst this is the first ever sail by the modern Turkish Navy past the Cape of Good Hope, it certainly is not the first time Turkish maritime forces have visited Cape Town. 148 years ago, two Ottoman Navy warships, the corvettes Izmir and Bursa, visited Simon’s Town in September 1866. The vessels had left Constantinople the previous year and where on their way to the Persian Gulf to protect pilgrims traveling to Mecca for the Hajj.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
HMS Portland photo Dean Wingrin

HMS Portland photo Dean Wingrin

 

 

07 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin

 

The British Royal Navy (RN) is making use of the opportunities provided by the Naval Base Simon’s Town maintenance facilities to conduct exercises with the South African Navy (SAN).

 

The Type 23 anti-submarine frigate HMS Portland arrived in Cape Town last Friday as part of a routine seven month deployment as the Royal Navy’s Atlantic patrol ship.

 

Having left Devonport on 13 January 2014, Portland has just spent three months on maritime security activities off the coast of West Africa before heading south to South Africa.

 

Commander Sarah West, Commanding Officer HMS Portland, said that the presence of Portland reinforces the particularly strong partnership that extends between the RN and the SAN, from the strategic to the tactical level. West is the first female Commander of a Royal Navy ship.

 

The Royal Navy sends two ships a year for a maintenance period in Simon's Town, with other ships using the facilities on an ad-hoc basis.

 

“That's because we value the work that goes on there. It also provides us with an excellent opportunity to work with the South African Navy,” West said.

 

Prior to her arrival in Cape Town, Portland conducted exercises for 24 hours with the South African Navy submarine SAS Charlotte Maxeke, during which time West said that the South African submarine “demonstrated her effectiveness and professionalism.”

 

West told defenceWeb that the South African Navy has the advantage in knowing the waters off southern Africa very well, making the exercises with the diesel-electric submarine (SSK) very challenging.

 

“The submarine took advantage of the distinct thermal layers,” West explained, including the ability to submerge below the sonar level.

 

“We think she took advantage of that and the environmental conditions because it was quite choppy out there, so we couldn’t actually see her periscope if it had come up,” West clarified.

 

Portland also launched her Lynx Mk 8 maritime helicopter during the exercise, although the helicopter is not fitted with sonar.

 

Despite the challenging conditions, West felt it was a very good experience, providing a tremendous training benefit for both the RN and the SAN.

 

“From a navy that does not have an SSK, it really is beneficial to us to be able to train with such an asset. It is very, very quiet, a very good piece of kit,” West noted.

 

Following a two day R&R break at the Table Bay V&A Waterfront, Portland will commence a two-week maintenance period at Naval Base Simon’s Town. Once alongside, the ship will disembark its Lynx helicopter to visit 22 Squadron at AFB Ysterplaat. This South African Air force squadron operates the Super Lynx and Oryx helicopters.

 

The aircrew of both units will engage in some enjoyable flying, but also conduct tactical and operational flying. Not only will they be able to exchange practices and procedures, but this will allow them to build up a shared experience while exercising should they be called upon to perform operations together.

 

The success of the joint exercise with the SAN certainly has made an impression on the RN. “We're looking to make that a regular occurrence, we're looking to bring more units down and do it on a more regular basis,” West said.

 

HMS Portland is one of thirteen Type 23 Duke Class frigates serving as the mainstay of the surface fleet in the Royal Navy. Commissioned into the RN on 3 May 2001, HMS Portland was originally developed to hunt submarines with a towed array sonar. She was upgraded in 2012 with improvements to her main 4.5” Mk 8 MOD1 gun and the installation of additional and improved sensors and computer systems. This, the RN says, makes her one of the most advanced frigates at sea today, able to operate globally and undertake a wide range of roles.

 

Whilst in Cape Town, the ship’s company will engage in various sporting outreach activities with children from the local community.

 

Following the maintenance period at Naval Base Simon’s Town, Portland will continue her patrol in the south Atlantic, visiting South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 11:45
RCA: les conséquences du retrait des Tchadiens de la Misca

 

04-04-2014 par RFI

 

L'annonce-surprise du ministre tchadien des Affaires étrangères ce jeudi 3 avril est intervenue après la dernière polémique en date. Une fusillade le week-end dernier qui a fait au moins 8 morts à Bangui. Si de nombreuses voix en Centrafrique se sont élevées ces derniers mois pour réclamer le départ des soldats tchadiens accusés de bavures, leur retrait va poser un certain nombre de difficultés à la force africaine.

Comment mener à bien la difficile mission de protection des populations civiles, et en particulier musulmanes, une fois que le contingent de 6 000 hommes, actuellement, sera amputé de 850 soldats aguerris ? Cette question et celle des modalités de retrait seront discutées dans les jours et les semaines qui viennent. En attendant, Ndjamena assure que son contingent assumera sa mission de paix dans les zones relevant de sa responsabilité.

 

Le Tchad perçu comme le protecteur des musulmans

Le Tchad qui, ces derniers mois, a rapatrié des dizaines de milliers de ses ressortissants ainsi que des Centrafricains d'origine tchadienne ou non est perçu comme le protecteur des musulmans de Centrafrique. Et son retrait pourrait provoquer des craintes supplémentaires parmi ces populations. Mais les autres contingents ont déjà démontré leur capacité à remplir ces mêmes missions. Petite consolation pour la Misca, la décision tchadienne intervient alors que la force européenne (Eufor-RCA), est attendue à Bangui à partir de la fin du mois. 800 hommes qui auront pour mission de sécuriser l'aéroport et une partie de la capitale, permettant à la Misca de revoir l'organisation de son dispositif en redéployant des hommes dans les secteurs dévolus au Tchad. 

 

→ A (RE)LIRE : RCA: le Tchad annonce son départ de la Misca

 

L'annonce du retrait tchadien intervient aussi au moment où Sangaris entre dans sa troisième phase : son déploiement dans le nord-est du pays. L'armée française a commencé cette semaine à se déployer dans l'est de la Centrafrique, a indiqué jeudi le général Francisco Soriano, dirigeant l'opération. L’arrivée de l’Eufor et de renforts français « nous permettra de consacrer des moyens supplémentaires à notre déploiement dans l’est, dans un premier temps, mais aussi dans le nord ». Une région dans laquelle, a reconnu le général du bout des lèvres, les militaires français sont déjà présents. « Dans le nord, en fait, nous y sommes déjà. Voilà. Nous avons des éléments de reconnaissance, de renseignement, à Ndélé. Nous savons ce qu’il s’y passe. Nous avons des contacts avec des acteurs locaux. Et la Misca s’est déjà déployée dans le nord. Il n’est pas impossible que la Misca poursuive son déploiement dans cette partie-là », a-t-il déclaré.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
Hawk Mk 120

Hawk Mk 120

 

01 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb

 

The South African Air Force (SAAF) has grounded the Hawk trainer fleet following the crash of a jet whilst landing last Thursday.

 

The BAE Systems Hawk Mk 120 jet trainer, operated by 85 Combat Flying School, was performing a ‘touch and go’ at AFB Makhado when it experienced a control problem.

 

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the control stick ‘locked’ shortly before touch-down, resulting in the aircraft slamming the front wheel onto the runway, bouncing and then hitting the runway again with the front wheel. This resulted in the front wheel breaking off and the Hawk sliding down the runway before coming to a halt.

 

Neither of the two crew aboard, who deploying the drag chute after the nose-wheel broke off in order to slow the aircraft, were injured.

 

As the damaged aircraft blocked the runway, other aircraft that were still in the air were forced to land on the taxiway. This was safely accomplished as when the airbase was built in the 1980s, the taxiway was designed to operate as a secondary runway in the event of the main runway being blocked or damaged.

 

AFB Makhado is situated near the town of Louis Trichardt in Limpopo Province. 85 Combat Flying School is equipped with the remaining 23 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) Hawk jets of the 24 delivered as part of the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP).

 

The other flying squadron operating from the base is 2 Squadron, equipped with the SAAB Gripen fighter.

 

Although no comment has yet been received from the Air Force or South African National Defence Force (SANDF), it is believed the official Board of Investigation commenced their enquiries on Monday.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
The South African Navy (SAN) has a new Chief

New Navy Chief Samuel Hlongwane with previous Navy chief Johannes Mudimu

 

01 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb

 

The South African Navy (SAN) has a new Chief. In a day full of traditional pomp and ceremony, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu handed over command to Rear Admiral Mosuwa Samuel Hlongwane on Monday March 31.

 

Hlongwane will be promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral with effect from April 1.

 

Mudimu was appointed as Chief of the SAN on March 1, 2005, a post he has held for the past nine years. During this time he played a major role putting the South African Navy in the forefront of several international treaties and programmes. He was instrumental in establishing the Sea Power for Africa initiative and is the outgoing chairman of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). Furthermore he was a driving force in the SADC Maritime Strategy as well as the tripartite alliance between Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa to curb piracy in the Indian Ocean.

 

The arrival and integration of all three Type 209 submarines ordered under the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP) occurred under his watch, with other highlights including the 2008 Presidential Fleet Review, the deployment of vessels during the 2010 Soccer World Cup and the anti-piracy patrols currently underway in the Mozambique Channel under Operation Copper. Many other new capabilities and training aids were also introduced into the SAN.

 

Following a 15 round gun salute and flypast from an Air Force Super Lynx maritime helicopter, the Change of Command Parade was held under sunny skies before invited guests, including Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Minister of Defence and Military Veterans), General Solly Shoke (Chief of the SANDF), the heads of the other services and the Navy Chiefs of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

 

On completion of the parade and in accordance with naval tradition, the outgoing Chief of the SAN was pulled from the parade ground on a gun carriage by senior members of staff. The Gun Carriage was pulled to Admiralty House through the main road of Simon’s Town, followed by the Navy Band.

 

Earlier that morning, Mudimu participated in a sail past of Navy ships in harbour, with the ships' company saluting him for the last time as Chief of the South African Navy.

 

Speaking to defenceWeb after the parade, Mudimu noted that he had remained as Chief of the SAN longer than international convention. “I think the time has come, I am a believer that change is good,” he said.

 

Reflecting on the past few years, Mudimu noted that he was of the view that the Navy had done well and were sensitive to all the requirements of the people and that the Navy now reflects the demographics of the country.

 

“I’m happy with the balance that our Navy has today across the board in terms of the white officers at various levels,” he said. However, he was still battling in attracting more Indians into the lower levels of the Navy.

 

Mudimu is comfortable that he is leaving the Navy in capable hands. Looking to the future, he says that the issue of sea blindness in Africa is still a factor.

 

Hlongwane had worked with Mudimu on these challenges and the new Chief of the SAN will be taking the process forward.

 

“I think V Adm Hlongwane will continue with this theme. African countries, they need a lot of support. They are entirely dependent on the Navy in terms of ensuring that their maritime zones are patrolled and patrolled effectively. So we have achieved a lot in that regard. So I wish they would continue in that.”

 

Another challenge facing African navies is to increase their capabilities, particularly when exercising with large foreign navies. Mudimu wants to see African navies putting their own ships and submarines to sea, not just embedding crewmembers on the foreign vessels.

 

“We must have our own assets and in so doing, we’ll ensure the stability and safety of the African continent being in our hands on not in the hands of the other person,” he explained.

 

Vice Admiral Hlongwane is a man of few words. He did, however, tell defenceWeb that the outgoing Chief “had already laid the grease” and that he will pick up where Mudimu had left and go forward.

 

He is aware of the enormous responsibilities that come with the new appointment as the Chief of the South African Navy. Although there were many challenges for him and his team, so there were opportunities.

 

He remarked on the ever increasing dependency on the South African Navy capabilities in support of the SANDF and national interest considerations. “This, he said, “means that we will have to enhance and strengthen our capabilities.”

 

Hlongwane joined the African National Congress (ANC) and its Military wing Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) in 1982, working as an underground operative, and left South Africa in September 1984. He completed basic military training in Angola, where he was initially deployed.

 

He was selected to attend the Naval Course in Azerbaijan (Baku) at the Caspian Naval Red Banner College in August 1986. In November 1991, he successfully completed the Naval Ship Command Course in Navigation.

 

Having participated in the Joint Military Co-ordinating Committee (JMCC) as a member of the Navy work group in 1993/1994, he integrated into the SANDF and attended the Bridging and orientation courses at South African Naval College and Maritime Warfare School (Combat Orientation Course).

 

After a number if postings within the SAN, he was appointed as the South African Defence Attache to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo from 1 March 2005 until 30 March 2008.

 

On 1 April 2008 he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral (JG) and appointed Chief of Fleet Staff.

 

Cabinet has approved Mudimu’s appointment as Chairperson of Armscor, with the final paperwork to be signed soon.

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30 mars 2014 7 30 /03 /mars /2014 07:45
Rheinmetall to modernize South Africa’s air defence capabilities


March 27, 2014 Rheinmetall AG

 

Rheinmetall AG of Düsseldorf has just booked another important order in the field of military air defence. The Republic of South Africa has decided to embark on a thoroughgoing modernization of its existing air defence systems. The contract was signed several days ago. Including logistics and training services, the complete package is scheduled for completion by 2017.

Among other items, the contract encompasses the supply of Oerlikon Skyshield fire control units, which will substantially improve the performance and accuracy of South Africa’s current twin-gun systems as well as significantly expanding the operational spectrum of its air defence capabilities. In this context, a number of guns will also be retrofitted with upgrade kits to accommodate Rheinmetall’s state-of-the-art Ahead airburst ammunition.

The new Skyshield technology will enable the South African armed forces to protect sensitive installations such as the House of Parliament, power plants, stadiums and other critical military and civilian assets from a wide array of aerial threats, including asymmetric terrorist-type attacks. Because Skyshield air defence systems can be transported without much effort, they can basically be deployed anywhere depending on the evolving threat situation. Ever since the 1980s, South Africa has fielded air defence technology from the former Oerlikon Contraves, which Rheinmetall took over in 1999.

Rheinmetall is one of the world’s leading makers of sophisticated short-range air defence systems. In the field of gun-supported air defence it is the market leader as in fire control technology, anti-aircraft guns, integrated guided missile launchers and Ahead airburst ammunition.

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 18:30
F-511 TCG Heybeliada

F-511 TCG Heybeliada

 

25 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

Just over a week ago the Barbados Turkish Maritime Task Group departed Turkish Naval Base Golcuk to start its circumnavigation of Africa.

 

The task force comprises the frigates F-495 TCG Gediz, F-245 TCG Orucreis, the corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada and the replenishment tanker A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Gungor Bosphorus Naval News reported.

 

South Africa is penned is as a definite for the group with SA Navy fleet headquarters at Simon’s town a port of call . The Denel Overberg Test Range will host the visitors for missile firing exercises in May.

 

Also on the task group’s mission list is maritime security and boarding training with the SA Navy in Simon’s town as well as in Lagos, Nigeria; Pointe-Noire, Congo; Luanda, Angola and Mombasa, Kenya.

 

Orucreis is also scheduled to take part in the Obangame Express Exercise from April 19 to 21. This is a US Naval Forces Africa at sea maritime exercise aimed at bettering co-operation among participating countries to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. Its focus is maritime interdiction as well as boarding, search and seizure operations.

 

During the 102 day deployment the task force will navigate the African continent from west to east making 40 port visits in 28 countries. Exercises will be conducted with a number of African navies during the deployment.

 

It also marks the first crossing of the Cape of Good Hope by Turkish ships in 148 years. All told the mission is expected to log around 15 000 nautical miles during the deployment.

 

This deployment is not just a navigational and training exercise around Africa. It is also a powerful application of Turkish soft power to Africa the publication said. During the last decade Turkey realised there is more to Africa than the Mediterranean countries where Turkey had links for centuries. With the discovery of sub-Saharan Africa Turkish entrepreneurs started to do business with these countries. They were followed quickly by missions of Turkish Foreign Ministry and flights from Turkish Airlines.

 

As with the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) task group which did a similar voyage starting in November last year, the Turkish maritime group will also have representatives from a number of Turkish defence companies aboard who will use the vessels as a floating showcase for their products and use port visits to actively market them to local navies and defence forces.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Defence Review approved, new Armscor chairman named

 

20 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

A 15 word sentence in the statement on this week’s Cabinet meeting will boost the country’s entire defence community.

 

The sentence reads: “Cabinet approved the South African Defence Review 2014 and directed that it be tabled in Parliament”.

 

It marks the end of mammoth task started in July 2011 by then Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu when she appointed Roelf Meyer as chairman of the Defence Review Committee with a wide brief on South Africa’s long term defence policy. Among tasks she specifically wanted the committee and its resource group to investigate and report on were a new defence policy, supportive of government’s priorities and strategic intent and a reviewed and confirmed defence mandate with associated functions, high level tasks, strategic concepts, doctrine, capabilities, level of effort and structure.

 

Another area Sisulu asked the Meyer team to investigate was “defence’s contribution to South Africa’s international policy, strategy and obligations”.

 

These and another at least nine objectives saw widespread consultation across with country with senior SA National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel, the defence industry, think tanks and universities as well as civil society by way of open meetings in all nine provinces.

 

All this input were then refined into more than 400 pages of documentation which was subsequently again refined following requests for further investigation and clarification by Sisulu’s successor, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and SANDF Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma.

 

This effectively saw the deadline of October 2012 set by Sisulu for the document to be tabled in Parliament scrapped. The decision approving it taken this week by Cabinet means it will be up for debate sometime after the May national and provincial elections when the fifth Parliament gets down to work.

 

The final item on the Cabinet statement is another with implications for both the SANDF and the defence industry.

 

Outgoing SA Navy chief, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, has been named as chairman of Armscor’s board of directors. This indicates he will replace current chairman retired Lieutenant General Mojo Motau, who took Mapisa-Nqakula to court to fight his dismissal last year. He and his deputy Refiloe Mokoena, who was also dismissed by the Minister, found themselves in the Constitutional Court earlier this year after an appeal against their reinstatement was lodged by Mapisa-Nqakula. Judgement in the case, according to the Constitutional Court website, has been reserved.

 

The statement also lists eight new non-executive members of the state security procurement agency. They are Thuthukile Skweyiya, Dr Moses Khanyile, Bethuel Mobu, Sesi Baloyi, Mpumi Zikalala, Ndumiso Tyibilika, Raymond Vokwana and Virginia de la Hunt.

 

No commencement date for them to replace the existing Armscor board is given in the Cabinet statement.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
SANDF troops conducting jungle warfare training in Port St Johns

SANDF troops conducting jungle warfare training in Port St Johns

 

20 March 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

The South African National Defence Force is using Port St Johns as a jungle warfare training facility in preparation for the deployment of 850 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo in May, when they will join the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) tasked with rooting out rebels.

 

5 South African Infantry (SAI) Battalion will replace 6 South African Infantry Battalion at the end of May under Operation Mistral, marking the unit’s first time in the DRC. The deployment will be for a year – most previous UN deployments were for six months but it is more economical and effective to deploy forces for a year, as less time is spent acclimatising with one deployment per year than two.

 

6 SAI deployed in May-June last year, joining a battalion sized element from Tanzania and a battalion sized element from Malawi. Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton of the SANDF's Joint Operations Division said that, to his mind, the Tanzanian and Malawians have demonstrated good performance in the DRC.

 

5 SAI started with pre-deployment training and is now busy with mission readiness training. Phase 1 of training was conducted at the Boschoek Training Area between 10 and 22 February and covered shooting, helicopter drills, buddy aid, GPS training and offensive and defensive attacks. Phase 2 started on March 3 in Port St Johns and will end on March 21. It is covering patrols, jungle warfare, water orientation, combat shooting, house clearing and offensive and defensive actions.

 

Port St Johns was chosen as the ideal spot for jungle warfare training as its dense forests are an almost exact replica of what troops will experience in the DRC. The SANDF’s other more established training facilities focus more on grasslands and savannah scenarios.

 

Brigadier Gen Mannetjies de Goede, from the SA Army Infantry Formation, said that experiences in the Central African Republic and DRC made the SANDF realise that the battlespace has changed and that the SANDF needs to adapt with it. Training was occurring in silos, he said. Before 6 SAI deployed to the DRC it trained in Grahamstown which does not have forests – current training areas do not cover tropical training hence a request was made to train in Port St Johns. Training in jungle terrain is part of the SANDF’s initiative to improve combat readiness as soldiers will go straight into battle when they arrive in the DRC, de Goede pointed out.

 

Some combat readiness training was demonstrated to the media on Wednesday, including scenarios with 81 mm mortars, 12.7 mm heavy machineguns and 40 mm grenade launchers. Journalists were taken on a tour of the forest when ‘rebels’ attacked, capturing some and holding them hostage before SANDF troops charged through the foliage and rescued them, firing a good many blank rounds along the way.

 

However, training has not all been simulated. Whilst conducting urban patrol training in Port St Johns, the 5 SAI soldiers responded to a real life event on March 12. Armed men attempted to rob a cash in transit security crew in the town’s business district. The robbers opened fire at the soldiers, who retaliated. During an hour-long standoff, three armed robbers and a security guard were killed and R21 million was recovered. It appears that the security guard was in plain clothes and was carrying a gun when he was shot. No soldiers were injured in the incident but one bystander was injured by a bullet that tore through his shin. Several weapons were confiscated, including an R-4, an AK-47, a .38 Special revolver and 9 mm handgun.

 

In addition to training, 5 SAI also engaged in an outreach programme that assisted a place of safety that takes local boys off the street. SANDF personnel voluntarily donated R4 963 to the Eluxolweni initiative, which was used to buy clothes, food and blankets.

 

5 SAI will be deploying as part of the Force Intervention Brigade, made up of South African, Tanzanian and Malawian troops, and under the direct command of the Monusco Force Commander. The FIB’s offensive mandate is to reduce the threat posed by armed groups to state authority and civilian security in the eastern DRC and to make space for stabilisation activities. Other objectives are to protect civilians, monitor the arms embargo and support the DRC government. They are also charged with protecting United Nations personnel, facilities and equipment.

 

The troops of 5 SAI are expected to be engaged in combat operations as soon as they arrive in the DRC as there are still numerous rebel groups active following the withdrawal of the M23, such as the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). Paxton said that there was a lot of action in the DRC last year and he didn’t see this changing in 2014.

 

At the moment there are various South African elements in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A special contingent includes aircraft personnel, military police, logisticians, engineers and others. This group is headquartered in Kinshasa and is under command of the UN mission in the DRC (Monusco). The South African aviation unit, which includes Rooivalk combat helicopters and Oryx transport helicopters, is based in Goma. The aviation unit is an operational tool of the Monusco’s force commander, meaning that the helicopters are under UN, not South African, control.

 

As the FIB supports the DRC government’s armed forces (FARDC), South Africa has also provided training to the FARDC under operation Thebe.

 

The DRC rotation, expected to take three weeks to complete, is one of the SANDF’s three external deployments. The other two are Operation Copper ensuring maritime security in the Mozambique Channel and Operation Cordite with Unamid in Sudan.

 

Click here to see the training in action.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Still many unanswered questions around the Battle for Bangui

 

 

24 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

Saturday marked the first anniversary of the involvement of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) elements in the ill-fated Battle for Bangui and while medals for bravery and valour have been awarded questions still remain.

 

One who wants public answers about South Africa’s involvement in the Central African Republic (CAR) at and before the time of the battle is David Maynier, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow minister of defence and military veterans.

 

In a statement timed to mark the anniversary, he said the firefight in the CAR capital resulted in the death of 15 South African soldiers who “when the fighting began fought well”.

 

“However, South Africa still does not know what really happened because there has been a deliberate and systematic cover-up of what has become known as ‘CARgate’.”

 

According to him the country has been “offered” a heroic battle narrative focused on the Battle for Bangui.

 

“This is, inevitably, only part of the truth. A proper investigation would almost certainly reveal President Jacob Zuma misled Parliament about the SANDF deployment to CAR and never informed Parliament about subsequent deployments in the DRC.”

 

He also points to intelligence failures and capability gaps, including a lack of suitable transport aircraft as other factors contributing to South African fatalities.

 

“That the operation was not all ‘military precision’ is revealed in leaked documents which provide an insight into the chaos at Joint Operations Command in the early hours of March 24, 2013, as it became clear that five registered/approved companies, contracted to provide air transport services, had no transport aircraft available to lift armoured patrol vehicles, a diesel bowser and more soldiers to the conflict zone.

 

“In the end Force Commander, Colonel William Dixon, and his soldiers from 1 Parachute Battalion and 5 Special Forces Regiment appear to have been left dangling in a deadly firefight, without the necessary support, in a country where they should never have been deployed,” Maynier said.

 

Attempts to establish what exactly happened through channels including the Joint Standing Committee on Defence as well as setting up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the SANDF involvement in CAR came to nothing.

 

“We know the SANDF conducted an internal review of the CAR deployment. We also know the SANDF convened three boards of enquiry relating to CARgate, including one to investigate the loss of controlled items, including weapons and vehicles. These documents have never seen the light of day and the findings have never been shared with the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.

 

“It was the greatest military disaster in the history of democratic South Africa. Yet a year later we are still none the wiser about what really happened in CAR,” Maynier said. Thirteen soldiers died in the firefight and anther two succumbed to their wounds.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Operation Copper now only with SA and Mozambique

 

20 March 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Operation Copper, the mission to provide maritime security and prevent piracy in the Mozambique Channel, is now a bilateral operation between South Africa and Mozambique after Tanzania withdrew.

 

According to Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton of the SANDF's Joint Operations Division, Tanzania withdrew from the operation some 18 months ago.

 

During the height of piracy in 2011, Somali pirates ventured far south and began attacking vessels in the waters between Africa and Madagascar. In December 2010 two vessels were attacked off Mozambique and a Mozambique-flagged fishing vessel was hijacked.

These incidents prompted South Africa in 2011 to establish Operation Copper to patrol the Mozambique Channel and in early 2012 sign a memorandum of understanding with Southern African Development community (SADC) members Mozambique and Tanzania to maintain the anti-piracy watch and. Since then, frigates, offshore patrol vessels and maritime surveillance aircraft have been deployed to Mozambican waters.

 

The Navy frigate SAS Spioenkop with a Super Lynx helicopter is currently on station in the Mozambique Channel while a C-47TP maritime surveillance aircraft is based in Pemba. At the moment there are around 220 SANDF personnel on land and at sea as part of Copper, with the majority aboard the frigate. The frigate will be rotated sometime next month as it is due to depart for Simons Town on March 31.

 

Mozambique’s contribution to Operation Copper includes personnel stationed on the frigates or strike craft – usually a dozen personnel on the frigate and less than half a dozen aboard the strike craft.

 

Paxton said that Operation Copper has been very successful with no piracy incidents in the last three years that the South African Navy has been patrolling the region. If pirates get their foot in the door, then the busy Cape sea lane will be threatened. He said that South Africa will continue with Copper, until president and commander-in-chief Jacob Zuma decides that it is time to withdraw.

 

Speaking to the media in February, defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the reduction in piracy, “is as a result of our presence in the Mozambique Channel. Now they know they can’t go down that far,” she said. “The presence of the SANDF serves as a deterrent…if we go, the pirates may come back.”

 

SA Navy Fleet media liaison officer, Commander Adrian Dutton, said all four frigates – SAS Amatola, SAs Isandlwana, SAS Mendi and SAS Spioenkop – as well as the Navy’s replenishment vessel, SAS Drakensberg, and two of it its offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), SAS Galeshewe and SAS Isaac Dyobha, have done time on station in the Mozambique Channel.

 

These platforms have been supported by elements of the SA Air Force, notably a 35 Squadron C-47TP based at Pemba in Mozambique, as well as Oryx helicopters from the Durban, Hoedspruit and Zwartkop air force bases.

 

Drakensberg is the only SA Navy vessel to have been involved in a pirate incident when she was requested to take up a stopper position by the European Union Naval Force to prevent a suspected pirate ship from escaping EU pursuit in April 2012.

 

For the 2013/14 period, some R585 million was allocated for anti-piracy operations as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Maritime Security Strategy. Operation Copper cost R150 million in 2011 and 2012, according to a written parliamentary reply.

 

Note: After this story was published, Joy Peter, the defence minister's spokesperson, said the agreement between Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa was still in place.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Saab Grintek Defence wins Exporter Award for second year in a row

The Saab office complex in Centurion

 

24 March 2014 by defenceWeb

 

Local company Saab Grintek Defence (SGD) has been given the Exporter Award for the second year running at the annual South Africa Premier Business Awards.

 

The SA Premier Business Awards celebrates business excellence in South Africa and is organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with Proudly South Africa and Brand South Africa.

 

The Exporter Award aims to recognise all export industry sectors and encourages other South African companies to participate in international business development and markets, SGD said. The Award further aims to recognise South African enterprises which invest in both human and technical resources in various projects or activities, produce quality products and services and remain domestically and internationally competitive.

 

Saab Grintek Defence was awarded the same award in 2013, the year the company celebrated a record year in terms of exports and subsequent revenue income for South Africa. The company has continued on its growth, celebrating various successes on the international and local front – making it a deserving winner of the distinguished Exporter Award, SGD said.

 

Magnus Lewis-Olsson, CEO of Saab Grintek Defence, Molly Mogotsi of Export and Shipping, Evelyn Motsatsing of Business Support and Chris Skinner, Head of Marketing and Sales received the award.

 

“We are very proud of this award as it shows the valuable contribution SGD continues to make to South Africa’s revenue. We continuously strive to market, sell and develop new products – this Award serves as renewed inspiration to continue on our successful path,” said Lewis-Olsson.

 

Roughly 95 percent of systems manufactured at Saab’s headquarters in Centurion, South Africa, are sold to export markets, making it a valuable source of income for South Africa. These include Electronic Warfare Self Protection Suites, Maritime ESM Systems, Civilian Aircraft Missile Protection Systems, Communications Management Systems, In-flight Data Recording Systems, Health and Usage Monitoring Systems.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Operation Copper still up and running

 

 

24 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich

 

Any possible review of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tri-nation agreement on counter-piracy operations in the Mozambique Channel could be an agenda item for next month’s Standing Maritime Committee meeting.

 

In the meantime it’s business as usual for SAS Spioenkop, the current SA Navy asset on station in the area, according to Defence and Military Veterans Ministerial spokesman Joy Peter.

 

She said the agreement, between Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa, remained “effective”.

 

“As recently as March 21 at a meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security reform the governments of Mozambique and Tanzania stressed the importance of bringing into force the trilateral agreement on maritime security signed by South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania,” she added.

 

Peter also said no indication has been received for any request to review the tri-national agreement on counter-piracy operations off the lower east coast of Africa.

 

South Africa is by far the major contributor to Operation Copper, the code name given to the counter-piracy tasking, providing at least one maritime platform as well as a C-47TP maritime aircraft and rotary-winged aircraft including Super Lynx and Oryx. In addition to ship’s crews the Navy has also deployed elements of its Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) aboard vessels in the Mozambique Channel.

 

While the bulk of counter-piracy taskings have been given to the Navy’s Valour Class frigates, offshore patrol vessels and the Navy’s single replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg have also spent time on station.

 

SA Air Force’s assets, with the exception of the Lynx maritime helicopters aboard the frigates, are based at Pemba.

 

The Mozambican contribution has been in the form of sea riders deployed on South African Navy vessels in the area of operations. Further assistance from South Africa’s eastern neighbour has been in the form of co-ordination, collaboration and information sharing in executing the mission objective she said.

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19 mars 2014 3 19 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
More information on conventional arms sales to be part of NCACC reports

 

19 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb

 

The quarterly and annual reports of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) will from now on carry more detailed information on South African arms sales to foreign countries.

 

This undertaking was given to DA shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier by Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, Jeff Radebe, who chairs the NCACC.

 

Until now reports have contained only information relating to the category and vale of all conventional arms sales. Maynier said the reports should have reflected information as to the country, type, description, quantity and value of arms sales.

 

He gave the example of a recent, what he termed “controversial”, sale of armoured combat vehicles to Equatorial Guinea.

 

“It would have been reported in the NCACC’s 2013 fourth quarterly report as a Category C sale with a ZAR value of 42 300 000 to Equatorial Guinea. That’s all.

 

“With the enhanced reporting requirements the transaction would have been reported as armoured combat vehicles, mine protected Reva lll (nine vehicles) and Reva lV (three vehicles) sold to Equatorial Guinea with the value of each also given.

 

“Previously, we would never have known the transaction between South Africa and Equatorial Guinean involved 12 Reva armoured combat vehicles,” Maynier said calling it “a major step forward for transparency on conventional arms sales from South Africa”.

 

As usual with Maynier he had a sting in the tail for the NCACC.

 

“Given the human rights standard in our legislation regulating conventional arms sales, I will request an investigation by the NCACC inspectorate into the sale of armoured combat vehicles to Equatorial Guinea.”

 

For the first time since the establishment of the NCACC in 1995 detailed information on conventional arms sales will be disclosed to Parliament.

 

“The new enhanced NCACC reports will boost Parliament’s capacity to conduct oversight on South African conventional arms sales,” Maynier said.

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12 mars 2014 3 12 /03 /mars /2014 21:45
South African expertise and equipment again adds value to UN DRC operations

 

12 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

The South African contingent of the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) has again proven its worth in the DRC with Rooivalk combat support helicopters and infantry soldiers pivotal in an encounter with APCLS (Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo) rebels.

 

One of the three 16 Squadron Rooivalks that are now part of the FIB’s aviation unit provided air support for a South African infantry battalion in an attack on an APCLS stronghold at the weekend, Afrikaans daily Beeld reported.

 

“No South Africans were injured in the encounter and at least 11 rebels were killed,” Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations spokesman told the paper.

 

The South Africans were, as in previous engagements with rebel groups including M23, deployed in support of FARDC, the Armed Forces of the DRC.

 

The weekend engagement took place in the Nyabiondo/Lukweti area of North Kivu, north-west of Goma.

 

APCLS rebels had taken up position on a mountain top and were using 12.7mm and 14.5 mm machine guns to keep the FIB/FARDC ground troops at bay. Efforts to dislodge the rebels using mortars proved unsuccessful and saw the Rooivalk called in to provide air support.

 

“The target was neutralised by Rooivalk by mid-Sunday afternoon and the rebel group deserted their position and ran away according to reports from soldiers on the ground,” Theunissen said adding the full extent of the damage suffered by the rebels was unknown, with 11 still to be confirmed kills.

 

A source told Beeld this was “just about the end” of APCLS.

 

“The FIB has taken back a number of towns previously controlled by APCLS,” he said.

 

According to Institute for Strategic Studies (ISS) DRC specialist Stephanie Wolters, APCLS is one of the smaller rebel groups operating in eastern DRC but it has been a factor in the overall destabilisation of the country.

 

Since being deployed to DRC last year as part of the FIB, the first ever UN peacekeeping mission to be given an offensive mandate, the South African contingent has been active in ensuring M23’s retreat into Uganda.

 

The South African developed and built Rooivalk has been in the forefront of a number of FARDC/FIB sorties against various rebel groups including the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces).

 

The combat support helicopter has earned high praise from Martin Kobler, MONUSCO head.

 

“Its accuracy enables us to achieve our clear objectives, including protection of civilians.”

 

The 16 Squadron rotary-winged aircraft were airlifted to the DRC last October and, in addition to several attacks on rebel forces and positions, have also flown reconnaissance and escort missions in the strife-torn country.

 

A number of SA Air Force (SAAF) Oryx helicopters are also in DRC as part of the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission.

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11 mars 2014 2 11 /03 /mars /2014 18:45
Defence Review delayed again

 

11 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

It appears unlikely Roelf Meyer’s Defence Review with be tabled in Parliament before it rises ahead of the May election, even though it is on the agenda for a Defence and Military Veterans Portfolio Committee set down for Friday.

 

This contradicts what SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief President Jacob Zuma said when he spoke at this year’s Armed Forces Day parade in Bloemfontein last month.

 

“I am pleased with the overall plan that has emerged to address the various limitations, including on the issues of budgets, currently affecting our ability to take proper care of our soldiers. Much consideration and time has been put in this work as we have now reached the final stages for Cabinet approval.

 

“It is my view these should be finalised, in the context of the current Defence Review, before the end of the term of office of this government,” he said at AFB Bloemspruit on February 21.

 

 

The current session of Parliament, the last of the fourth Parliament of the Republic, is set to end on Friday the day after Zuma is due to answer questions from MPs in the house.

 

That is the day the Portfolio Committee will deliberate for four hours over a single agenda item – “Briefing by the Defence Review Commission on matters relating to their review of defence policy”.

 

Former Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, under whose leadership Roelf Meyer’s committee was established to review the national defence policy as regards the structure and operations of the SANDF, the role of the local defence industry and Armscor, the State’s security acquisition agency, wanted the Review tabled in Parliament in October 2012.

 

Her successor, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, last month said: “The work of the Defence Review Committee is nearing completion. The Review is only awaiting Cabinet approval and if its vision for the defence force is accepted, then this leadership should stand ready for its implementation. The Review will inform the role, shape, design and trajectory of the SANDF for the next 20 to 30 years”.

 

DA shadow defence and military veterans minister, David Maynier, maintains “there is no prospect the Review will be adopted by the fourth democratic Parliament”.

 

“This means the SANDF will be in a holding pattern for a significant period, at least until late 2014/15.

 

“The real problem with the Review is the flawed process. The final document does not contain a fully costed force design with buy-in from all stakeholders, including National Treasury. This I see causing further delays in the adoption process when the fifth democratic Parliament starts work,” he said.

 

One of the proposals in the Review is to do away with Armscor in its present form and establish an acquisition department reporting to the Secretary for Defence.

 

The friction between the Minister and the acquisition agency has now reached the Constitutional Court following Mapisa-Nqakula’s summary dismissal of chairman “Mojo” Motau and his deputy Refiloe Mokoena last year. They were reinstated after taking the matter to the north Gauteng High Court. This, in turn, saw an appeal to the Constitutional Court lodged by the Defence Ministry.

 

The matter was heard on February 17 and judgement has been reserved.

 

The judgement, when it comes, will come under the purview of the new Cabinet expected to be announced within days of the May 7 elections. This, along with the future of the Defence Review, are now effectively on hold for the next three months.

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