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10 mars 2014 1 10 /03 /mars /2014 19:45
28 Squadron takes NSRI crew aboard for maritime flight training

Maritime flight training for NSRI - Picture Robert Fine, NSRI

 

10 March 2014 defenceWeb

 

28 Squadron is widely recognised as one of the hardest working units in the SA Air Force (SAAF) with its more than 50-year-old C-130BZs routinely providing logistic support across the country and the continent.

 

One of its other missions is search and rescue and training in this aspect of operations with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) recently took place a long way from the squadron’s home base at AFB Waterkloof.

 

A pair of BZs made AFB Ysterplaat their temporary base for maritime flight operations training. NSRI crew members Robert Fine and Mahboob Ebrahim were invited to join the crew aboard one of the BZs.

 

The mission the NSRI crew joined started early at Ysterplaat and after a flight briefing the aircraft departed for a location just off Saldanha Bay/Langebaan lagoon. Two specially deployed SANDF “casualty” vessels were on the sea in the area for the aircrew to spot and then deploy life rafts as near as possible.

 

“On arrival in the area, the C-130 started a search pattern and once the ‘casualties’ were located, the flight pattern was changed so that multiple smoke markers could be dropped in close proximity. The markers would assist with wind direction and enable the pilot to line up the aircraft on final approach. Once in position a life raft is pushed out of the back of the aircraft with a small parachute deploying to break its fall. It automatically inflates on hitting the water,” said Fine.

 

The C-130BZ has a range of about 2 700 nautical miles and an eight hour endurance. The four-engined aircraft can run search operations up to 1 300 nautical miles offshore with an hour on station depending on weather conditions and other variables. Different size life rafts can be dropped depending on the number of people needing rescue. Additional life rafts are carried aboard in case the initial drop is unsuccessful.

 

28 Squadron, under the command of Colonel Jurgens Prinsloo, has nine C-130BZs on its inventory to fulfil tasks ranging from logistic support for SANDF continental peacekeeping and peace support operations, humanitarian operations, search and rescue, support to the SA Army and general airlift.

 

The squadron is the SAAF’s main medium heavy airlift squadron and last June it marked its 70th anniversary at the same time as the 50th in-service anniversary of the C-130BZ.

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9 mars 2014 7 09 /03 /mars /2014 12:45
Exercise Ibsamar set for October

 

07 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

The fourth iteration of Exercise Ibsamar is set to start in October off South Africa’s southern and western coastlines.

 

Ships from the Brazilian and Indian navies will steam into Simon’s Town to join up with elements of the SA Navy ahead of the three nation exercise that is set to end in mid-November.

 

“The main planning conference for Ibsamar was held in Simon’s Town last month with details discussed and agreed,” Fleet media liaison officer Commander Adrian Dutton said, adding the exact number of foreign vessels, as well as South African ones, that will take part in the exercise could not be divulged “at this stage”.

 

“It is envisaged both the Brazilian and Indian contingents will berth at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront after the exercise for crew rest and relaxation and interaction with the people of Cape Town,” he said.

 

There are currently no details available of the Navy’s other regular exercises with foreign navies – Atlasur, with the Argentinean, Uruguayan and Brazilian navies - but Dutton said the biannual Good Hope exercise with the German Navy has been scheduled for March next year. This will be the fifth time German naval vessels have been in South African waters for a joint exercise with the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

 

Unofficial sources indicate two of the Navy’s four Valour Class frigates - SAS Isandlwana and SAS Spioenkop – are currently operational. Two of the three Heroine class Type 209 submarines – SAS Charlotte Maxeke and SAS Queen Modjadji -  are operational.

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8 mars 2014 6 08 /03 /mars /2014 12:45
Options for new SAAF maritime surveillance platforms

 

 

07 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

With approval, in principle at present from the National Treasury, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s unhappiness about “her people” flying in aircraft more than 60 years old seems set to end, if only in a few years.

 

During his national budget speech last month Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan approved the acquisition of new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) in the 2015/16 fiscal term for the South African Air Force (SAAF).

 

The new aircraft, the number of which was not stipulated by Gordhan, will replace 35 Squadron’s C-47TPs, now well over 60 years old and the mainstay of the SAAF’s maritime patrol and surveillance capability.

 

Mapisa-Nqakula specifically mentioned the age of aircraft in the wake of the C-47TP crash in the Drakensberg in December 2012 which left 11 dead.

 

With the door now open for MSAs, two of the potential suppliers have both stressed the importance of acquisitions that can fulfil multiple missions rather than be dedicated to the single tasking of maritime surveillance.

 

Taking an extract from the draft Defence Review, hopefully still to be tabled during the current session of Parliament, Lockheed Martin points to the importance of airborne maritime surveillance. The Review states: “as a trading nation, with over 95% of our trade being reliant on maritime trade routes, the security of South Africa and its people is crucially dependant on the ability to trade, grow the economy, reduce poverty and provide meaningful work for South Africa’s people” and, in reference to the threat of piracy, “protection of the trade routes for merchant shipping is of vital national interest to the nation. No less than 75% of South Africa’s oil imports on which the economy depends arrives by sea from the Middle East.”

 

The United States aerospace and defence company’s relationship with the SAAF goes back more than 50 years, having delivered C-130 Hercules to the SAAF half a century ago. C-130BZs in service with 28 Squadron are still the SAAF’s major airlift and transport aircraft. However, with these nearing the end of their serviceable lives, Lockheed Martin maintains the new generation C-130J Super Hercules is the right replacement.

 

Apart from being able to do what the current SAAF BZ fleet does more efficiently, the J models are also multi-mission. This means configurations can be changed to suit specific taskings, ranging from transport of troops and equipment through to medevac, VIP transport, firefighting and maritime surveillance and patrol as well as search and rescue, an important tasking given South Africa’s responsibilities in terms of its massive economic exclusion zone.

 

In similar vein the C295 from the Airbus Defence and Space stable is also a true multi-mission aircraft. It offers transport in all its variants; maritime surveillance, unarmed with the option of either palletised or permanently installed mission systems; maritime patrol, armed and also with either palletised or permanently fitted mission systems as well as oil spill response and protection.

 

With no real prospect of growth in the defence budget, the SAAF would be getting “more bang for its buck” if aircraft acquisitions are of the multi-mission type. This would cut down on the number of platforms to be purchased and allow more different mission taskings.

 

These are only two of the possibilities SAAF acquisitions personnel will be investigating - many other manufacturers have also expressed interest in Project Saucepan, including RUAG, Saab, L-3, ATR and HAL. Another possibility comes from a suggestion made by retired lieutenant general Carlo Gagiano, when he headed up the airborne arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

 

He proposed acquiring a number of smaller twin-engined aircraft, in the King Air size, to be fitted with the requisite equipment and operated by SAAF Reserve Force pilots from airports along the country’s coastline. Given that current SAAF chief, Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang, has stated the revitalisation of the SAAF Reserve is one of his priorities, this could well add another arrow to the quiver that is maritime surveillance.

 

Reserve Force pilots based at say, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town, could utilise these SAAF assets, freeing up whatever other platforms are acquired for other duties.

 

All told, military aviation watchers maintain there are options aplenty available to the SAAF acquisitions personnel to beef up maritime surveillance and keep the seas off the country safe, essential given that South Africa is very much a maritime trading country.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
French frigate Nivose to visit Durban next week

 

05 March 2014 by defenceWeb

 

The French frigate Nivose will visit Durban for four days next week, highlighting the bilateral maritime cooperation between South Africa and France. Nivose is a regular visitor to South Africa and recently took part in Exercise Oxide off Mozambique last year.

 

The French Navy makes use of repair facilities in Durban, Cape Town and Mauritius, with the Nivose often calling on South African ports to restock her supplies and conduct maintenance. Nivose will be docked in Durban between March 12 and 15.

 

Nivose is stationed at Reunion. She carries out patrols in the Indian Ocean and in the Southern and Antarctic Lands, patrolling overseas maritime areas under French sovereignty and in the deep sea to protect France’s interests.

 

She is equipped with a Eurocopter Panther helicopter and is armed with MM38 Exocet missiles, a 100 mm and two 20 mm guns. The 93.5 metre long, 2 900 ton vessel is powered by four 2 200 hp diesel engines and three diesel generators and has a crew of 15 officers, 61 petty officers and 21 seamen. The vessel can stay continuously at sea for 50 days. Nivose is one of six ships of the Floreal class built by DCN and Chantiers de l'Atlantique between 1990 and 1993.

 

In accordance with a treaty between Australia and France, Nivose takes part in a cooperative fishing police and surveillance operation of French and Australian economic areas and every year Australian Customs Officers and Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Fisheries Officers embark on board Nivose. In addition, Nivose supports the scientific missions based on Kerguelen, Crozet and Saint Paul and the French Austral islands.

 

France is hopeful of concluding a similar type of agreement with South Africa, whereby joint patrols will be conducted with customs and fisheries officials from each country aboard each other’s vessels. This will ensure that patrols are conducted efficiently and cost-effectively, with no duplication of patrol areas.

 

As fighting piracy has become a major issue, the French frigate was the first warship to participate to the European Union Naval Force’s Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean. Since 2008, Nivose has caught more than 80 suspected pirates aboard more than 25 skiffs during her five deployments.

 

Nivose also bolsters bilateral relations with regional powers through port visits and joint maritime exercises, such as Oxide with the South African Navy in 2011 and 2013.

 

Exercise Oxide was held between August 30 and September 6 off the coast of Maputo, Mozambique. Participants included Nivose and her Panther helicopter, the South African Navy frigate Isandlwana with its Super Lynx helicopter, the offshore patrol vessel Isaac Dyobha, the submarine Queen Modjaji, a C-130 Hercules, a C-47TP and an airborne rescue team.

 

Activities at sea included a submarine rescue exercise involving the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Pretoria and the Centre Regional Operationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage (CROSS) of La Reunion.

 

This third edition of Oxide (the first was held in 2008) also included Mozambican armed forces, with Mozambican personnel embarking aboard Isandlwana.

 

Nivose is also involved in search and rescue operations. In May 2001 France and South Africa signed a bilateral agreement on maritime search and rescue in the Indian Ocean as France needed a partner to offset the weakness of some nations in the area (notably Madagascar and countries bordering the Mozambique Channel) and to deal with the large areas to be covered.

 

France and South Africa have recently conducted several joint search and rescue exercises, including the Marion Dufresne providing assistance to the South African fishing vessel El Shaddai near the Crozet Islands in September. On January 7 this year the two crew of the sinking French vessel Idefix was rescued off the Cape Town Coast. French and South African maritime rescue personnel hold regular meetings and exercises.

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17 février 2014 1 17 /02 /février /2014 18:50
photos ECPAD

photos ECPAD

 

17/02/2014 Sources : EMA

 

La 25eédition de la conférence des aumôniers en chefs des pays de l’OTAN a eu lieu à Paris, du 3 au 7 février 2014. A cette occasion, quatre-vingt-quatre aumôniers en chef se sont réunis au sein d’un cercle de réflexion élargi. Ils provenaient de 28 pays européens, des Etats-Unis, du Canada, mais aussi d’Afrique du Sud, de Nouvelle-Zélande et de Corée du Sud.

 

Depuis 1990, ce congrès annuel rassemble les aumôniers en chef des pays de l’OTAN dans un pays hôte différent. Cette année, le congrès a été placé sous la double autorité du chef d’état-major des armées (CEMA) et du Supreme Allied Commander Europe(SACEUR).

 

L‘objectif de cette conférence est de faciliter les échanges à partir d’une réflexion sur un thème volontairement général. Le thème, choisi à cette occasion par les aumôniers en chefs français, était : “Souffrance et Espérance”. Dans ce cadre, chacun des quatre aumôniers en chefs français (catholique, protestant, musulman et israélite) a animé une conférence débat d’une demi-journée.

 

L’aumônier en chef protestant, le pasteur Stéphane Rémy, le général de division Jean-Fred Berger du commandement des forces alliées de l’OTAN à Naples, et monsieur Eric Germain, de la Délégation aux affaires stratégiques du ministère de la Défense, ont animé le premier débat autour de la question : apport des aumôniers aux opérations extérieurs (OPEX).

 

Pour le culte musulman, le thème abordé fut le “soutien de l’aumônier comme facteur de résilience du soldat”. L’intervention a été assurée par monsieur Abdelkader Arbi, aumônier militaire en chef musulman.

 

Pour l’aumônerie catholique, monseigneur Luc Ravel, l’historien Xavier Boniface, le père Griffon et le père Fresson ont choisi d’aborder le thème au travers d’une réflexion sur « le centenaire de la guerre de 1914-1918 ».

 

La dernière conférence débat fut animé par le grand rabbin Haïm Korsia, le professeur Didier Sicard, président de la commission de réflexion sur la fin de vie, Véronique Dubois, aumônier israélite française au Val de Grâce, deux aumôniers protestants allemands et deux aumôniers protestants britanniques sur le thème « blessures invisibles ».

 

La journée du 4 février a été marquée par l’intervention du Général (US) Breedlove, SACEUR. Elle s’est achevée par la concélébration d’une messe présidée par monseigneur Luc Ravel dans la chapelle de l’Ecole militaire, tandis qu’un culte présidé par le pasteur François Clavairoly, président de la Fédération Protestante de France, s’est déroulé au temple protestant de Passy-Annonciation, rue Cortambert, et qu’une visite de la Grande Mosquée de Paris réunissait aumôniers militaires musulmans et israélites.

 

C’est sous le signe des commémorations de la Grande guerre que le colonel (US) David Beauchamp, Chaplain-in-chiefde l’US EUCOM et le Colonel Chavanat de l’état-major des armées ont ravivé la flamme sous l’Arc de Triomphe.

 

L’ensemble des aumôniers participant au congrès ont par ailleurs visité le musée de la Grande guerre, à Meaux, le 6 février, avant de se rendre à la chancellerie de la Légion d’Honneur où le général d’armée Geogelin les a accueilli et leur a présenté les collections abritées dans ce lieu prestigieux.

 

Le congrès s’est achevé par une réception des aumôniers dans les salons du gouverneur militaire de Paris (GMP) présidé par l’amiral Xavier Magne, inspecteur général des armées marine, représentant le CEMA, en présence du général (US) Owens, European Command Plans and Operations Center (EPOC).

 

En 2015, ce sont les Pays-Bas qui accueilleront la 26econférence des aumôniers en chefs des pays de l’OTAN.

Aumôneries : les aumôniers en chefs des pays de l’OTAN réunis à Paris.

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10 février 2014 1 10 /02 /février /2014 19:45
Cancellation of SA spy satellite project could cost taxpayer R100 million plus

 

 

10 February 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceweb

 

South Africa could face a claim exceeding R100 million for not meeting contractual obligations regarding the acquisition of a Russian radar surveillance satellite.

 

The acquisition was apparently spearheaded by now retired Lieutenant General “Mojo” Motau when he headed Defence Intelligence and would have cost at least R1.2 billion.

 

Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier, who has been investigating the issue, said he had been given information on it by Auditor General Kimi Makwetu.

 

“He confirmed the bungled project had resulted in a possible claim against the State of R115 914 849.

 

“The Auditor General furnished me with a copy of the 2006/07 annual report on Special Defence Account (SDA) financial statements which includes the amount as a contingent liability.

 

“The reason for this, according to the report was ‘for a potential claim against the state by a foreign company as a result of the withdrawal of approval for the sensitive project by the Minister’,” Maynier said.

 

Maynier reverted to asking for information on what has become known as South Africa’s spy satellite saga in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act after Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula accused him of not having state security at heart. She said he was using the now cancelled satellite acquisition to score political points ahead of the May 7 election.

 

Government reportedly entered into a contract with Russian company, NPO Mashinostroyenia, for the development of a Kondor-E reconnaissance satellite in 2006. At that time it was called Project Flute and was later renamed Project Consolidated Flute.

 

In January Maynier said the project to develop the Kondor-E satellite was frozen for a period, sometime before 2008 by the Department of Defence, causing NPO Mashinostroyenia to threaten legal action.

 

“Project Flute is believed to have been frozen, in part, because a flaw was discovered in the contract, something Defence Intelligence failed to recognise,” he said adding the flaw was that Defence Intelligence would be “entirely dependent” on the Russian company.

 

“Images would have to be requested from them at additional cost and with a significant time delay. Defence Intelligence would have no control over the satellite or be allowed to operate it from South Africa.”

 

Maynier said the statement by the Auditor General was the “first official” one with direct reference to project Flute.

 

“The fact that there is a possible R100 million plus claim against the state and that the matter was pursued by the Minister at inter-state level, suggests there may have been major financial misconduct as a result of Project Flute.

 

“We have to determine whether there was financial misconduct and if there was whether any disciplinary proceedings were instituted as required by the Public Finance Management Act.”

 

Maynier said he would continue to seek answers. This despite Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s assertion he did not have national security interests at heart.

 

“Exposing a bungled satellite development project which, after eight years has cost over R1 billion and has not launched a satellite, hardly compromises national security,” he said adding he would submit further questions on the issue and request records relating to possible financial misconduct regarding the project.

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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 18:45
Exports essential for Rheinmetall Denel Munition

 

 

04 February 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

More proof, if ever it was needed, that the South African defence industry cannot be viable without a strong export market comes from Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM).

 

Chief executive Norbert Schulze told defenceWeb the company, working from four locations in South Africa, last year exported 70% by value of its products.

 

“Our current order book shows 90% of production will be exported this year. This is in addition to us being the sole supplier to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) of 105 and 155 [mm] artillery munitions, aircraft bombs, naval ammunition as well as armour and various mortars.”

 

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH of Germany is the 51% majority shareholder in the South African company with State-owned defence industry conglomerate Denel the other shareholder.

 

Schulze is actively exploring further export opportunities and this saw RDM recently open an office in Russia and work with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, the Dutch defence authorities and NATO.

 

The decision to establish a presence in Russia follows South Africa becoming one of the four BRICS member countries and he is confident there is a place for South African made munitions in the Russian defence sector.

 

With the need to keep exports strong, both from the point of view of keeping production facilities going as well as profitability, RDM has been working with the British and Dutch military authorities to obtain approval for a number of its products.

 

“We are confident of gaining the stamp of approval from the MoD by mid-year and this will open the door to another market,” Schulze said.

 

These will be in addition to the 30 countries where RDM is already doing business and Schulze also has plans to make the company a player in the central Asian and South American markets.

 

“We have targeted South America as a priority for 2014,” he said, adding RDM would continue to offer both its products and services to Africa.

 

“Africa is our continent and we want to keep it that way as well as keeping the SANDF as our number one customer.”

 

Apart from keeping up its supply to the South African military machine, Schulze plans to add the SA Police Service to RDM’s client list. He is confident this will see locally produced rubber bullets, flash-bangs and teargas being used by police.

 

Apart from steel forgings cast at its Boksburg facility that are used by Rheinmetall subsidiaries worldwide, RDM also supplies fellow Denel Group company PMP with military grade powder for its range of small calibre ammunition.

 

“Explosives and propellants are another area RDM is looking to grow and we currently have a staff complement of 80 working in our rocket section.”

 

As with other defence industry companies in South Africa, RDM has had to invest in people.

 

“We start identifying the right people while they are still at high school as our scientists and engineers of the future. The RDM Academy has been set up specifically with this in mind and part of its brief is to ‘search for bright youngsters’.”

 

Schulze is aiming at having 10 of the right young people in the Academy a year because it’s “the only way to go. The type of people we need one doesn’t find on the market”.

 

In the last financial year RDM employed 1 630 people. Schulze sees this growing and then settling at around the 1 700 mark with the RDM Academy bringing the right people to the company to keep it on the right side of future financial statements.

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20 janvier 2014 1 20 /01 /janvier /2014 17:45
Brand Italy – military, diplomatic and humanitarian – on its way to South Africa

 

20 January 2014 defenceWeb

 

The Italian Navy’s 30th Naval Group is well into its six-month training, humanitarian and promotional sales tour and is due to port in South Africa on February 5.

 

The group departed Italy in November. It is led by the aircraft carrier Cavour and comprises the multi-mission frigate Bergamini, logistic support ship Etna and the Comandanti Class patrol ship Borsini.

 

The voyage combines training, diplomacy and humanitarian assistance with a privately funded marketing trip for Italian industry billed as a “moving country”.

 

The group has already ported in Bahrain and Doha in Qatar and has now moved into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. Stops at a number of ports will see the issues of maritime security and merchant shipping protection addressed as well as support to navies of African costal countries through active co-operation.

 

The voyage is also flying the flag for the Mediterranean country’s foreign policy as well as marketing the “Made in Italy” brand. In this respect it was called a “floating Le Bourget” by Italian Defence Minister Mario Mauro when he saw the group off in November. This was in reference to the major defence industry exhibition held in Le Bourget, France.

 

The rationale behind the travelling sales mission, which will call at 19 ports before returning to Italy in April, is that companies on board will foot the bill, effectively underwriting crew training as regular funding for exercises dries up, DefenseNews reported.

 

Industry will pay more than €10 million for fuel costs and €3 million for other expenses, including port fees, while the Navy will pick up the €7 million wages bill, Navy Chief Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi said at a press conference prior to the group’s departure.

 

He added the voyage would also see Italian Navy crews training in a challenging climate, far from home.

 

The Navy has been pushing to find creative ways to fund crew training while maintenance and operations budgets are eroding as planners divert large amounts for personnel spending, DefenseNews reported.

 

In the three-year budget published this year, maintenance and operations funding slips from €1.33 billion this year to €1.32 billion in 2014 and to €1.3 billion in 2015.

 

The Italian contingent is due to sign a co-operation agreement with Mozambique when the group ports in Maputo.

 

The marketing of Italian naval vessels also would be on the agenda in the Arabian Gulf, Morocco, South Africa and Mozambique, while in Angola, talks would continue regarding Italian industry helping to develop a new type vessel for the local navy, he said.

 

For companies in the Finmeccanica group, the voyage allows a focus on the gulf ports in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

 

AgustaWestland will be parking an NH90 and AW101 helicopter on board the Cavour, while Oto Melara will promote its new guided munitions and Selex ES the combat management system it installed on Cavour. Torpedo unit WASS will promote its Black Shark torpedo, while visitors also will see the Storm Shadow, Meteor and Brimstone missiles built by MBDA, in which Finmeccanica holds a stake.

 

Small-vessel builder Intermarine is joining the trip, as is small arms maker Beretta.

 

“We are interested in the visits to the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait,” said Lorenzo Benigni, vice president for communications at electronics firm Elettronica, which has supplied self-protection systems on Cavour.

 

The defence stands will share space with displays promoting Italy’s hosting of Expo 2015, as well as stands taken by small aircraft maker Blackshape, tire-maker Pirelli and business aircraft company Piaggio Aero. Railway technology group Mermec and microsatellite builder Sitael also will be represented, as well as an Italian trade association grouping 2 800 furniture and wooden goods manufacturers.

 

The voyage, according to De Giorgi, is “a business card for Italy” while the Defence Minister described it as “a piece of Italy”.

 

Following stops in the gulf, the ships will also port in Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Algeria, Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and Algeria.

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16 janvier 2014 4 16 /01 /janvier /2014 17:45
Still no progress on Defence Review

 

 

15 January 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

An indication of the priority rating, or lack of it, attached to the Defence Review comes from Shadow Defence and Military Veterans Minister David Maynier who told defenceWeb that as of today, 11 official Parliamentary questions on the review and associated matters asked by him have not yet been replied to.

 

The more than 400 page Defence Review is seen as the precursor to a new White Paper on defence that will prescribe the form of South Africa’s military for at least the next 20 years. It will also guide equipment procurement and be a valuable planning tool for the local defence industry.

 

Former Defence Minister Roelf Meyer was asked by then Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in July 2011 to review the current defence policy and present a document setting out the way forward.

 

Meyer and his six member committee, supported by a six-strong resource group, embarked on a national tour to obtain input from not only the defence and military sector but also civil society. Hundreds of meetings and engagements later, they produced the draft Defence Review, beating the deadline set by Sisulu, who said she wanted it to be tabled in Parliament by October 2012.

 

The Parliamentary deadline passed without the Review being seen by the national legislature. This was at the time ascribed to the arrival of Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in the Defence and Military Veterans Ministry with the outspoken Sisulu moved to Public Service and Administration.

 

Since then Meyer and his co-committee members have done more reworking of their document following meetings with the then new Minister as well one with President Jacob Zuma, Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

 

That the Defence Review has to make it to Parliament has also been pointed out by Peter Groenewald, FF+ spokesman on defence. He noted that both the Department of Defence’s annual Strategic and Performance Plans make reference to it.

 

“If it is not approved or at least debated initially there will be no progress in creation of an SANDF capable of doing what government wants it to do down the line.”

 

In October defence analyst Helmoed Heitman, who is also a member of the Review committee, told defenceWeb the document has gone “about as far as it can”.

 

The Review’s lack of progress through official channels he said is “a real problem”.

 

“The strategic situation in Africa is changing quickly – and for the worse – while the SANDF is stuck with the old 1998 Defence Review force design and National Treasury intent on enforcing that, despite the obvious requirement to increase force levels and add certain capabilities, no more funding comes to the military.”

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20 décembre 2013 5 20 /12 /décembre /2013 13:45
SAAF receives Gripen support contract

 

20 December 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

South African armaments acquisition agency Armscor has finally awarded Saab a support contract for the South African Air Force’s 26 Gripens. The SEK 180 million (R285 million) contract will see Saab support the Gripen fleet to 2016.

 

Saab said that the operations of the Gripen fighter in South Africa have previously been supported by Saab through short-term interim support contracts. However, since April the SAAF had no Gripen support contracts at all. The Air Force did hands on maintenance work, but it is not good for the aircraft to fly for extended periods without proper maintenance and support.

 

“The steady state support contract that has now been signed between Saab and Armscor enables Saab to conduct support operations in a sustainable manner with a long-term horizon, with high efficiency and availability,” the Swedish company said.

 

Through the steady state support contract, typical support services like engineering support, maintenance, repair and overhaul and spares replenishment will be carried out. The contract also includes technical publications amendment services.

 

"Signing of the steady state support contract marks the start of a deeper and extended relationship between Saab, Armscor and the South African Air Force. The Gripen operation climbs out of testing and delivery phase with ad hoc, short-term support efforts into a real sustained South African fighting force, constantly ready and supported by Saab,” said Magnus Lewis-Olsson, head of Saab’s market area Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

South Africa ordered 28 Saab Gripen C & D advanced light fighter aircraft in 1999 as part of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package aka “arms deal”. The order was later trimmed to 26. By August 2011, the SAAF had spent R151 million on Gripen support.

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20 décembre 2013 5 20 /12 /décembre /2013 13:45
Feature: the SANDF in 2013

 

 

20 December 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

When those in overall command of South Africa’s military, from Commander-in-Chief President Jacob Zuma, his Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Solly Shoke, review the force’s performance over the past 12 months it should result in more than a certain amount of introspection.

 

There was both good and bad for all four arms of service with the bad, in the form of body bags arriving at AFB Waterkloof, the most extreme.

 

On the good side, sterling performances by South African air- and ground-based elements deployed in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) showed the SANDF still has it what it takes.

 

While the men and women in uniform, as well as the civilian component of the SANDF, by and large acquitted themselves reasonably and in certain cases, exceptionally, well of the tasks assigned them, there are areas for concern.

 

The sight of body bags being carried off the cargo ramp of a 28 Squadron C-130BZ at the end of March brought home forcibly just what the cost of South African foreign policy could be. The 13 troops from 44 Parachute Regiment members who died in the Battle for Bangui were later joined on the fatality list by two more Regiment members who succumbed to wounds sustained in the Central African Republic.

 

These 15 deaths served as a timely reminder of the need for proper planning, in terms of logistic support, as well as the importance of good intelligence.

 

Shoke subsequently indicated the lessons learnt in Bangui would be taken to heart and they were when officers involved there assisted with training of the South African contingent that is now part of the UN’s first ever Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the DRC.

 

The plus side of the ledger was be bolstered by two specific performances, again both beyond South Africa’s borders.

 

In the DRC a SANDF sniper racked up what is considered by experts to be one of the longest successful kill shots and the home-grown Rooivalk combat support helicopter proved to be too much for the M23 rebel group, which has long been a thorn in the side of FARDC (DRC government forces) and the UN Mission in that country.

 

A single successful sortie by a pair of 16 Squadron Rooivalks is viewed by military observers as the turning point that led to the M23 retreating. It also marked the Rooivalk’s first ever combat since the helicopter entered service with the SA Air Force.

 

While the SANDF has yet to officially comment on the more than two kilometre shot by the South African sniper deployed as part of the FIB, military watchers said it was the sixth longest confirmed successful sniper shot in military history.

 

Equipment-wise, the SA Army will be breathing much easier now that all the paperwork is finally completed and Denel Land Systems can start production of its long-awaited replacement for the Ratel infantry fighting vehicle: the Badger.

 

The first of 238 Badgers will be delivered to the landward arm of service in 2015 with the final vehicle’s delivery date currently set for 2022. Sadly, the delay in finalisation of the production contract has meant a drop of 56 in the number of Badgers to be built.

 

By all accounts the Navy has coped with its problems of manpower, platforms and a shortage of finance. While it did not take part in the year’s major naval event – the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review – successful exercises were concluded on both the east and west coast of Africa. The maritime arm of service was also the mainstay of Operation Copper, the Southern African Development Community three nation counter piracy tasking in the Mozambique Channel.

 

Support in this operation was provided by the SA Air Force via a C-47TP and Oryx helicopter.

 

The airborne arm of the SANDF dispelled many of the rumours about its ability to put aircraft on the line – and in the sky – when no less than 10 jets (five Gripens and five Hawks) taking part in the Air Capability Demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range in September (no Gripens were airborne during the May edition of the Air Capability Demonstration).

 

This highlight apart, the SAAF saw a large portion of its Agusta A109 light utility helicopter fleet grounded, the cancellation of a maintenance contract with Denel Aviation’s Aero Manpower Group and more latterly a public relations debacle when a long planned aviation and lifestyle show at AFB Ysterplaat was cancelled less than two weeks before the event.

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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 17:45
A Paramount Matador armoured vehicle

A Paramount Matador armoured vehicle

 

13 December 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Paramount Group, South Africa’s largest private defence company, has teamed with Kazakhstan to produce armoured vehicles in that country.

 

Kazakh Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov on Wednesday announced the launch of the project in the capital Astana, which will see the production of 120 to 360 military and non-military vehicles a year. Production is expected to commence by 2015.

 

According to the Kazakh ministry of defence, the project involves Paramount, Kazakhstan Engineering and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution. The three companies signed an agreement last month over military vehicle production and maintenance.

 

Work at the facility will include cutting and welding armour plates, vehicle assembly and quality control. Wheeled armoured fighting vehicles as well as commercial vehicles such as buses will be manufactured for both local and export markets.

 

Dzhaksybekov on Wednesday noted that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev stipulated that by 2020, some 80% of Kazakhstan’s military hardware should be supplied through domestic production.

 

The Kazakh defence ministry said this is the first such high-revenue joint venture in Central Asia and will see significant local investment, skills and technology transfer. At least 150 jobs will be created and 50 engineers trained.

 

Apparently the armoured vehicles that will be manufactured at the plant were tested by Kazakhstan’s armed forces in May and June this year.

 

Paramount Group Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said: “It is a great privilege for Paramount Group to have been selected as the strategic partner to Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution for the establishment of this landmark facility in Kazakhstan. This is a very important milestone in the strengthening of ties between Kazakhstan and South Africa. The defence and aerospace industry is one of the most strategic areas of cooperation between nation states.”

 

Ichikowitz added: “It is our intention to establish a fully fledged armoured vehicle and land forces manufacturing facility to engage not only in manufacturing but also in Research and Development, for the production of an indigenous range of products that are ideally suited to Kazakhstan and other markets in the region. We believe that this strategic collaboration and our investment will support the industrial development of the country and boost the high-tech defence and aerospace industry.”

 

Miles Chambers, Business Development Director at Paramount said, “We are pleased to participate in this large project under which not only manufacture and assembling of the machines but also research and design work will take place. We will participate in the development of Kazakhstan's defence capabilities through transfer of technology and investment of our own funds.”

 

Paramount has done business in the region before – for example, Paramount delivered 30 Matador and 30 Marauder vehicles to Azerbaijan’s armed forces.

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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 08:45
Denel products including the Badger IFV and Umkhonto SAM

Denel products including the Badger IFV and Umkhonto SAM

 

17 December 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

South African defence and aerospace conglomerate Denel says it is well on the way to business sustainability and has highlighted a number of important achievements for 2013, such as the awarding of the Badger production contract, the performance of the Rooivalk in African peacekeeping operations and a R5 billion guided munition contract.

 

Riaz Saloojee, Denel Group CEO, said that the company’s performance over the last year “has received widespread recognition. At our recent meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Members of Parliament spoke with great appreciation about the company’s role in meeting its strategic mandates and the success of our financial turnaround.”

 

Over the last year Denel improved revenue by more than 10% and grew profit by R30 million to R71 million. The only remaining loss-making unit in the group, Denel Aerostructures, has improved its position by 35%.

 

Saloojee said some of the year’s greatest highlights include the launch of the Badger, the South African Army’s new infantry combat vehicle, and the first successful deployment of the Rooivalk in active service in support of peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some 2 000 jobs are expected to be created from the Badger vehicle, 238 of which will be delivered to the South African Army over the next decade.

 

Denel Land Systems is also involved in a smaller project (part of Project Warrior), which involves upgrading the SA National Defence Force’s R4 assault rifles with Picatinny rails, sights and other accessories.

 

Another highlight was the move into space science, with Denel creating the Spaceteq division. This was inducted as a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in September. In July 2013, satellite manufacturer SunSpace was incorporated into Denel Dynamics, creating Spaceteq. Denel said that developments are already underway for Spaceteq’s first project, a multispectral, high resolution, earth observation satellite called EO-Sat1 for operation by the SA National Space Agency (SANSA) by 2017.

 

“We made huge progress with our strategic alliances on missile and guided munition developments with international partners. We signed new agreements for work packages in the aerostructure business and launched an international centre of excellence for MRO work during South Africa’s historic hosting of the BRICS Summit,” Saloojee said of 2013.

 

Expanding on the guided munitions developments, Tawazun Dynamics, a joint venture between Denel and Tawazun Holdings, was awarded a R5 billion contract by the UAE armed forces for Al Tariq precision guided bombs for its Mirage 2000-9 fighters in November.

 

Also on the guided munition front, Denel successfully tested its land-based Umkhonto surface-to-air-missile, destroying targets at 20 kilometre ranges during a series of tests in the southern Cape. The Umkhonto SAM system was developed by Denel Dynamics for the SA Navy’s Meko A200 class frigates, and is in service in both Block 1 and Block 2 versions. This ground-based launcher now provides an alternative that can also be used by the SA Army’s for Phase 2 of its Ground-based Air Defence System (GBADS), according to Denel.

 

On the missile front, Denel Dynamics is working towards final development and qualification of the A-Darter fifth generation air-to-air missile, being developed together with Brazil. The company is also working on the future Marlin missile project, aimed at establishing a common platform for long-range all weather air-to-air and surface-to-air defence.

 

On the aviation side, Denel Aviation is working on external fuel tanks for the Rooivalk combat helicopter. Denel said that the project was revived about four years ago when most of the Rooivalk development was completed. The external fuel tanks are needed for the Air Force’s long range escort missions where one or two Rooivalks fly alongside other aircraft such as the Oryx to provide protection. The external tanks of fuel add about two additional hours of flying. The manufacture of production tanks for the Rooivalk squadron is expected to be contracted within this financial year as almost all testing has already been done.

 

Also on the aviation side, Denel this year redelivered two Botswana Defence Force AS350B helicopters after their 12 year inspection and is working on upgrading six SA Air Force C-130 Hercules with auxiliary power units and environmental control systems. Denel Aviation also handed over a Puma helicopter to the Kenyan Air Force after maintenance work.

 

Denel Aviation earlier this year partnered with Russian Helicopters to provide a local maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for Russian Helicopters manufactured rotorcraft. Mi-8/17 aircraft are being catered for, but other models may be serviced at a later date.

 

On the manufacturing side, Denel Aerostructures received a third multi-million rand contract for the manufacturing of critical parts for the Airbus A400M strategic airlifter. The approximate R157 million contract (over eight years) will see Denel Aerostructures manufacture tailplane components.

 

Meanwhile, Denel Dynamics continues to support SANParks in the Kruger National Park by providing a Seeker UAV for anti-poaching operations. Mechem also supports anti-poaching operations by supplying dogs and handlers to track poachers.

 

Denel Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) this year commissioned and installed thirteen new CNC machines, worth R13 million, to assist with 30 x 175 mm ammunition production. The new machines will be able to make up to 500 of these rounds a day, meeting the requirements for the Badger vehicle. The requirement is to manufacture a volume of up to 100 000 rounds a year, something that can achieved with the introduction of the new CNC machines.

 

The development of the ammunition took place in tandem with the development of the 30 mm Cam-gun for the Badger, done by Denel Land Systems. The 8X8 Badger infantry combat vehicle will be equipped with a 30 mm cam-operated cannon and a breechloaded 60 mm mortar, both of which are integrated into the turret variants manufactured by DLS.

 

Phaladi Petje, CEO of PMP, said the commissioning of the new machines enhances PMP’s capability to export more medium calibre ammunition and to bring in valued foreign currency.

 

Mechem has also had a busy year, receiving contracts from Kenya and Zambia amongst others for dog training and dogs, which will sniff out explosives.

 

Saloojee said Denel wants to move from being a good company to a great company. “I have no doubt that we can achieve this if we continue on the current trajectory.” Part of this trajectory is Denel’s plan to grow its revenue to more than R7 billion over the next five years and create an order book more than five times its turnover. Denel is modernising its product offerings as a result, especially in the fields of artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, ammunition and aviation MRO services.

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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 08:45
Saab hasn’t given up on Fighter Weapon School in SA

 

18 December 2013 by Guy Martin – defenceWeb

 

Saab has not given up on the idea of established a Gripen Fighter Weapon School and continues to offer the concept to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in spite of its earlier refusal.

 

Anne Lewis-Olsson, Saab’s Head of Communication Sub- Saharan Africa, told defenceWeb that the company has not given up on the idea and still wishes to establish such a facility, which would train fighter pilots initially from Gripen countries.

 

In July last year Saab announced at the Farnborough Air Show that it would establish the School in South Africa, but shortly afterwards the SANDF denied the whole affair.

 

Saab had planned to run the first course with at least six students in late 2013 using between four and six South African Air Force (SAAF) Gripen C/D fighters.

 

A 1 000 square metres building at AFB Overberg would have been dedicated to the school and would have included briefing and debriefing rooms, a lecture hall, lunchroom, locker rooms, a gym and sauna, offices and IT infrastructure. South African and Swedish Air Force instructors would have conducted the course, Saab said.

 

Although the SANDF has denied that it will host the School, Saab believes there is still sufficient interest from the SA Air Force to possibly one day establish the facility as South Africa is the preferred location due to favourable weather and the vast test range in the southern Cape. However, Lewis-Olsson cautioned that these things take time and that much patience is needed. For instance, Saab is still waiting for the SA Air Force to issue a Gripen support contract – the SAAF had been living on interim support contracts, but since April had no support contracts at all.

 

Saab has said that the Fighter Weapon School would be a fantastic opportunity for the SAAF as it would give local pilots skills and flying time and would showcase South Africa’s capabilities to the rest of the world. At present the SAAF Gripen fleet of 26 is being underutilised, with 12 placed in rotational storage.

 

Saab has a large presence in South Africa, mainly due to the SA Air Force’s Gripen purchase and subsequent offset investments. In fact, Saab South Africa is the largest Saab defence division in the world, after the parent company in Sweden, with around 700 people being employed in South Africa. Saab South Africa comprises Saab Grintek Defence, Saab Grintek Technolgies and Omnigo. Turnover for Saab South Africa was R1.4 billion this year. Of this, 9% is invested into research and development.

 

Chris Skinner, Vice President, Head of Marketing and Sales and Commercial, Saab Grintek Defence, told defenceWeb that Saab is looking to participate in many of the programmes that form part of the SANDF’s Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan (SCAMP). For instance Saab has answered the Request For Information (RFI) for Project Chutney, which is seeking to acquire new long range, mobile tactical, air traffic control and precision approach radars. As Saab only manufactures a couple of these types of radars, the company will seek a partner for Chutney. For Project Saucepan, which seeks to acquire maritime surveillance aircraft, Saab is offering its Saab 340 and 2000 platforms, which could be available within a year. The company has also provided border camps for the SANDF.

 

Saab would also like to be involved in many other SANDF projects, such as Projects Sepula and Vistula (armoured vehicles and trucks), Biro (patrol vessels) and the upgrade of the Valour class frigates.

 

Saab also hopes to sell its Skeldar unmanned aerial vehicle in Africa, especially for things like anti-poaching, anti-piracy and peacekeeping operations – the United Nations is for the first time operating UAVs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Saab South Africa also has numerous other business avenues, such as naval ESM and countermeasures systems, field camps, security etc. Command and Control and security are major fields for Saab, especially as security is such a huge business in South Africa.

 

Skinner said that Saab Grintek Defence exports between 70 and 75% of its products. “Without exports I don’t think we’d survive,” as the SANDF is not ordering much at the moment, although there are many procurement projects underway. Skinner said the last couple of years have been tough in South Africa as there are many projects underway, yet funding has not been made available. However, he said that with the changes in the Department of Defence and state contracting company Armscor, things will improve in the future.

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 18:45
A simulated landmine exploding under a Husky 2G during test

A simulated landmine exploding under a Husky 2G during test

 

13 December 2013 by defenceWeb

 

After being exposed to stringent ballistic and blast tests at the CSIR’s Paardefontein test facility outside Pretoria, DCD Protected Mobility’s two-man operated Husky 2G met NATO’s stringent blast protection requirements, something its manufacturer said was a significant achievement.

 

The Husky 2G surpassed blast requirements defined in STANAG 4569 — a NATO standard covering protection levels for occupants of logistic and light armoured vehicles during strikes from kinetic energy and artillery as well as IED blasts.

 

Andrew Mears, General Manager at DCD Protected Mobility, explained there is a basic requirement which needs to be met as well as a second higher requirement users of the vehicle would like to see met. “It is significant the Husky 2G surpassed this second requirement,” he said after the tests.

 

The Husky 2G route clearance vehicle is in service worldwide and has collectively been subjected to more than 6 500 landmine and IED strikes in the field with minimal operator casualties. Its ability to safely execute dangerous route clearance missions and return to base safely has attracted the loyalty and confidence of countless Husky operators.

 

DCD Protected Mobility invests a significant portion of its revenue into R&D to enhance the safety of vehicle operators and the survivability of the vehicle, the company said. The Husky 2G operators’ cabin successfully withstands Level 3 Kinetic Energy and Level 5 Artillery Threats as defined in the NATO standard. At Paardefontein the Husky 2G was also successfully subjected to Level 4a and Level 4b blast tests, in which 10 kg TNT surrogate mines were placed under the wheel and under the rearmost edge of the V-hull.

 

 

A DCD Protected Mobility Husky 2G undergoing blast tests.

A DCD Protected Mobility Husky 2G undergoing blast tests.

 

An instrumented seated anthropomorphic test device (ATD) was inside the Husky 2G during the tests. The ATD, which simulates the presence of a human operator, was fully clothed and fitted with military boots and socks. Various accelerometers, load cells and pressure sensors were installed on it and high speed cameras were positioned inside the cab to record body movement.

 

Not only did the Husky 2G vehicle successfully survive the stringent tests but more significantly, the vehicle could be repaired in the field an hour after the test. DCD said one particular Husky 2G vehicle underwent three detonation tests in three weeks and the vehicle has been repaired and will be utilised for further R&D projects.

 

The Husky vehicle-mounted mine detection system (VMMD), previously known as the Chubby system, was developed in the 1970s for the South African Defence Force to clear roads of mines in Namibia and Angola. The system comprises of two Husky vehicles: the first acts as a Mine Detection Vehicle (MDV) (previously a Meerkat). The second vehicle (a Husky) tows a mine-detonating trailer.

 

The South African Army uses the Meerkat while the Husky system is being used by Canada, the USA, UK, France, Australia, Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Spain and Turkey.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 08:45
C-130J photo Frans Dely - Lockheed Martin

C-130J photo Frans Dely - Lockheed Martin

 

26 November 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

Lockheed Martin’s point man for Africa has hit South Africa with the declared mission of trying to establish exactly what the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) airlift requirements are.

 

Dennys Plessas, Vice President Business development Initiatives at the American aerospace company, told defenceWeb his three day visit would also allow him to put forward suggestions on the boosting of airlift capacity for the hard-pressed SAAF.

 

“I’m here to find out exactly what the SAAF’s needs and requirements are as far as airlift, whether it be tactical or strategic, is concerned. Both myself and Lockheed Martin are concerned a hastily taken decision in this regard can lead to problems down the line with aircraft maintenance and utilisation,” he said, regarding reports of feasibility and or project studies apparently currently underway for possible acquisition of Ilyushin Il-76s.

 

An indicator of the importance Lockheed Martin attaches to South Africa can be gathered from Plessas’ statement that the company is ready to engage with its single largest customer – the US Air Force – to accommodate any South African requirement for the C-130J Super Hercules.

 

“If needs be speedy procurement can be negotiated with the USAF.”

 

Earlier this year the SAAF marked the 50th year of service of the C-130BZ with AFB Waterkloof-based 28 Squadron. It was also the squadron’s 70th anniversary.

 

An indication of the respect the C-130J has earned among the world’s air forces was that the Indian Air Force had disposed of its Il-76s in favour of the new generation Hercules, he said. The sub-continent’s air force currently has 12 C-130Js in its fleet inventory.

 

“It is a true multi-role aircraft handling missions such as airlift, maritime patrol and reconnaissance, border protection as well as air-to-air refuelling and others,” Plessas said adding discussions with the current and immediate past SAAF chiefs had led him to believe aerial refuelling was high on the priority list.

 

“This appears to have changed and that is why I’m here – to find out what the priorities are and how the C-130J can fit those needs.”

 

He would not elaborate on exactly who he would be seeing during his short stay in South Africa but said the local United States Embassy was also ready to offer “every assistance” if there was a decision to go the C-130J route by the SAAF.

 

The SAAF’s C-130 fleet will be retired in 2020, leaving only a few years to decide on a replacement. The Air Force also needs to urgently replace its Turbo Dakota maritime surveillance aircraft, under Project Saucepan. Lockheed Martin has previously suggested its Sea Hercules and C-130XJ Expandable Super Hercules could meet this requirement, and fulfil the SAAF’s airlift needs. The C-130XJ would have a substantial amount of local content fitted to meet South African requirements.

 

The US Air Force brought a Super Hercules to the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition in Pretoria in September last year.

 

During a briefing last year Plessas noted that the C-130J could provide 90% of the SAAF’s airlift capability (including cargo transport, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, medevac, search and rescue etc). It could also meet 100% of the SAAF’s maritime/border patrol requirements and 100% of its tanking needs, as the KC-130J has successfully refuelled Gripen fighters.

 

The SAAF’s eight C-130BZs are projected to keep flying until 2020, up from the earlier date of 2015, but the Air Force has yet to issue a request for information (RFI) or request for proposals (RFP) for replacements. Lockheed Martin pointed out that the SAAF’s Boeing 707 tankers had been retired in 2007 and that its C-47TP aircraft are 1940s vintage.

 

Lockheed Martin ready to assist with SAAF airlift acquisition

Until the cancellation of the Airbus Military A400M in 2009, the SAAF envisaged a transport trinity with the A400M as the heavy/strategic transport, a C130-type aircraft as a medium airlifter and a third type as a light utility aircraft.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 18:45
New gallery: Denel Land Systems

20 November 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Denel Land Systems on November 19, 2013, hosted an open day to present the Badger infantry combat vehicle to the media. Present was a wide variety of Denel land products, including the G5, G6 and 105 mm artillery systems, Casspir 2000 armoured personnel carriers, mortars, cannons, machineguns, assault rifles and armoured trucks. Mechem sniffer dogs put on a demonstration detecting drugs, explosives and landmines. Click here to view the gallery.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 17:45
The Denel Land Systems G5 155 mm artillery piece

The Denel Land Systems G5 155 mm artillery piece

 

20 November 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Denel Land Systems showed off a wide range of its products at its Lyttelton facilities on Tuesday, showcasing proven technology, like its G6 artillery and R4 assault rifles, and new hardware, such as its Badger armoured vehicle, 60 mm breech loading mortar and 105 mm howitzer.

 

Stephan Burger, CEO of Denel Land Systems (DLS), said recent restructuring and acquisitions have broadened the company’s range of products and services, confirming its role as a strategic land systems partner to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). “We are extremely proud of what we have and who we are,” he told journalists at a briefing yesterday.

 

DLS said the strength of the company lies in its ability to meet South Africa’s entire landward defence needs – from infantry weapons and mortars to armoured vehicles, artillery and logistical support. The fact that Denel is now profitable and not making a loss any more further strengthens its ability to support the SANDF. “Our purpose is not only to make money – it is to support the strategic needs of the SANDF in terms of combat systems. We are fulfilling that role but we can’t do that by relying on South African business.”

 

As a result, some 80% of DLS turnover comes from export orders. Burger said that DLS is now a “mature and confident company which can build on a reputation and experience of more than 60 years. The next step will be to grow our share in the global markets – especially in our niche capabilities in artillery systems.”

 

Burger said that Denel’s G6 and G5 howitzers still set the global standards for long-range artillery. “The G6 was ahead of its time when it was first launched in 1987. Through our continuous research and investment in the gun we have ensured it remains ahead of the pack as the most versatile and reliable artillery system in its class. We are still outgunning all our global competitors by a wide margin.”

 

He told defenceWeb that DLS was in negotiations with a couple of customers for a “substantial number” of these weapons, which are in high demand.

 

On the artillery side, DLS yesterday showcased its 105 mm howitzer, which is still under development and waiting for an order so this can be completed. Burger told defenceWeb that the gun was more of a technology demonstrator and is taking a back seat to the G5 and G6, which are important products for the company. The 105 mm gun has a range of 30 km, versus the average of 18 km for other weapons of that calibre, Denel said. Burger noted that the 105 mm is important to Denel’s long-term planning as a next generation weapon.

 

Two of the main areas that Denel Land Systems is focusing on is artillery for export and the maintenance of the SANDF’s B-vehicle fleet. With upcoming contracts, DLS expects turnover to reach into the billions of rands soon.

 

DLS exhibited the smaller side of its range yesterday, including long range and regular 81 and 60 mm mortars, SS77 and mini-SS machineguns, automatic grenade launchers, 20 mm cannons and R4 assault rifles. Displayed on the Badger armoured vehicle was the 60 mm breech loading mortar. This design is water cooled, allowing a high rate of fire. Burger said it was one of a few such breech loading designs in the world but the only type of its size.

 

Denel has upgraded the R4 with new furniture able to fit a wide variety of attachments, such as laser and infrared sights, red dot sights, Milkor underbarrel 40 mm grenade launchers, shock prodders and other add-ons. The company has received orders for several hundred upgraded R4s for the South African military for evaluation as a subcomponent of its African Warrior programme. Burger said that occasional small orders for items like the SS77 and mortars are received from places like the United Arab Emirates and Columbia, for example.

 

Also on the small arms side, DLS has partnered with Swiss firearm company Brugger & Thomet (B&T), with the two companies sharing technology and product lines. Burger said the partnership was a cheap way of getting new capability.

 

Sales of Denel’s GI-2 20 mm cannon have been progressing well and the company says it has seen a resurgence in demand for this calibre of weapon, particularly for naval applications. Burger said there was a lot of interest in rapid fire cannons from the Far East. Denel recently supplied a number of 20 mm cannons and double SS77 machinegun mounts to Kenya for its Puma helicopters.

 

Also on display was the NTW-20 anti-material weapon, able to destroy high value targets such as bunkers, command and control stations and stationary aircraft with pin-point accuracy over distances of more than 1 200 meters. The 14.5 mm variant was used by a South African soldier to snipe M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this year, with one kill taking place at a range of 2 125 metres – one of the longest successful sniper kills in history.

 

On the vehicle side, Denel Land Systems demonstrated its new Badger infantry combat vehicle, which has just been ordered for the South African Army. The first of 238 Badgers will be delivered to the SA Army in the fourth quarter of 2016. Burger said the Badger order was “absolutely needed” for many reasons, one of which was to support the South African defence industry.

 

A number of different Casspir armoured personnel carriers were on display, including old and new variants in different configurations, such as ambulance and mine clearance. Specialist de-mining company Mechem, part of DLS, manufactures the Casspir vehicle, used by the United Nations in various peace missions.

 

Mechem is one of the few demining companies accredited by the United Nations and is currently active in post-conflict zones in 11 African countries. Its specially-trained sniffer dogs are able to detect landmines, drugs and contraband. They were impressively demonstrated yesterday, with the dogs detecting explosives, drugs and landmines and also tackling a ‘bad guy’. Denel said that its dogs are involved in anti-rhino poaching operations in the Kruger Park, as they are used for tracking and detection.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 08:45
Badger mortar carrying version - Denel Land Systems Badger ICV. photo Guy Martin

Badger mortar carrying version - Denel Land Systems Badger ICV. photo Guy Martin

 

19 November 2013 by Guy Martin – defenceWeb

 

The first of 238 Badger infantry combat vehicle will roll off Denel’s production facilities in October 2015, rejuvenating the South African Army’s landward defence capabilities.

 

Denel received the production contract nearly two months ago from Armscor. Due to delays in ordering the vehicles, the number to be acquired has been reduced from 264 vehicles to 238 as delays pushed up the price tag. The timetable has also slipped slightly, with the first example expected off the production line three months later than was announced last month.

 

Stephan Burger, the CEO of Denel Land Systems (DLS), said the industrialisation at its facilities in Lyttelton has already started and the manufacturing will commence in early 2015. The full fleet, which will replace the Ratels that are currently used by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), will be delivered by the end of 2022.

 

“The new Badger ICV is a combination of a locally-designed turret and a Finnish designed vehicle, customised for the unique South African conditions. The system will be produced locally and represents the apex of the South African defence industry,” stated Burger.

 

“It will provide South Africa’s soldiers with unrivalled firepower, mobility and maximum armoured protection. The SANDF will have an adaptable and flexible vehicle that can be used with equal confidence in both high-intensity warfare and peace support operations.”

 

Following an open tender process, Denel Land Systems was awarded the contract for the development of a new generation infantry combat vehicle by Armscor in 2007 to replace the 30 year old Ratel fleet.

 

The first prototype vehicle was delivered to Armscor and the SANDF in 2010. This vehicle is currently being subjected to extensive testing and modifications to meet the changing requirements of the SANDF, Denel said. The R8 billion+ Badger programme will create 2 000 jobs in South Africa, including 200 at Denel Land Systems.

 

With a budget of R1.3 billion, Denel Land Systems and its sub-contractors have, within five-and-a-half years developed and tested five variants of the Badger, improved its armour capability, developed new weapons for the vehicle, developed crew simulators and logistics support systems.

 

Burger told defenceWeb that 16 of the 238 Badger chasses will be built in Finland (as the Badger is based on the Finnish Patria vehicle) and the remainder will be made in South Africa, with the transfer of skills and intellectual property (up to 70% of the vehicle will be produced locally).

 

A notable feature of the Badger is its modular turret system, developed in five variants, namely Section, Command, Mortar, Missile and Fire Support models. A single turret structure, fitted with different weapon modules, will simplify the logistic support and reduce the cost of through-life support, Denel said.

 

The Badger variants are equipped with either a 30mm externally-driven cam-operated cannon, a locally developed 60 mm breech-loading long-range mortar both developed by DLS, a 12.7mm machine gun or the Ingwe anti-tank missile system developed by Denel Dynamics. These weapon systems are integrated into the DLS turrets. The breech loading mortar is water cooled, allowing a high rate of fire. Burger said it was one of a few such designs in the world but the only type of its size.

 

“Although the development phase is still in process, we are confident that the Badger will generate considerable international interest in the vehicle and open a number of prospects for future exports that could result in the injection of foreign direct investment into South Africa,” said Burger.

 

The Badger project has already resulted in Malaysia ordering R3.5 billion worth of turrets and weapons from Denel, developed for the Badger. Burger told defenceWeb that he expects the total Badger system to be exported. He said the vehicle’s uniqueness is a world requirement. Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America are target areas.

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19 novembre 2013 2 19 /11 /novembre /2013 18:45
photo Dylan Mohlala

photo Dylan Mohlala

18 November 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


The South African Army hosted the annual Exercise Seboka open day on November 15 at the Lohatla training ground in the Northern Cape, which played host to more than 120 armoured vehicles that engaged in live-fire training. Click here to access the gallery.

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 12:45
Il-76s for the SAAF?

 

13 November 2013 defenceWeb

 

A SA National Defence Force (SANDF) project team is burning the midnight oil on an urgent study to ensure extra airlift capacity for the SA Air Force (SAAF) becomes a reality.

 

Afrikaans daily Beeld reports Ilyushin 76s (Il-76s) are top of the list to supplement the ageing C-130BZs operated by 28 Squadron.

 

The acquisition of at least three of the massive Russian transport aircraft, probably second hand, is seen as essential to providing support for South African peacekeeping and peace support deployments on the continent.

 

The acquisition will be paid for out of the Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan (SCAMP), the paper reported.

 

Defence analyst Helmoed Heitman told the paper the establishment of the airlift project team could be traced back to the Central African Republic (CAR) deployment and the Battle for Bangui earlier this year. This because no suitable aircraft were available at short notice to fly much-needed Mamba vehicles to South African troops.

 

Lockheed Martin, manufacturers of the C-130, has made presentations to the SAAF as regards replacing the BZ, which has been in service for 50 years, with the new C-130J. The gap in airlift capacity became more pronounced when government bailed out of the Airbus Military A400M programme in 2009 citing cost escalations and production delays as the reasons for South Africa no longer wanting to be a risk sharing partner in the new generation airlifter. A deposit of R3.5 billion was refunded but indications earlier this year were at least part of that money was allocated to the controversial Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

 

Heitman told Beeld’s specialist defence writer Erika Gibson the SAAF has never before operated Russian aircraft and, if Il-76s were acquired, it would mean an overhaul of the logistic system to keep them operational. There are also currently no SAAF pilots rated on the Il-76.

 

The SANDF has used chartered Il-76s to transport equipment to places like the Democratic Republic of Congo for peacekeeping missions, as it is difficult to fit aircraft like Oryx helicopters into the SAAF’s C-130s without major dismantling. Chartering aircraft is an expensive undertaking – for example the SANDF spent R108 million chartering aircraft for operations in the Central African Republic between January and April this year.

 

The Il-76 is a four-engined strategic airlifter that first flew in March 1971. Nearly a thousand of these robust aircraft have been built for military and commercial operators around the world, with hundred still in service. The aircraft can carry between 42 and 52 tonnes of payload, depending on the model.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:45
Nautic Africa Guardian BR850 boat

Nautic Africa Guardian BR850 boat

 

12 November 2013 by Guy Martin/Oscar Nkala - defenceWeb

 

The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Marine Unit has commissioned seven new Guardian BR850 interceptor boats from Nautic Africa, which are being deployed on Lake Malawi.

 

They were commissioned by President Joyce Banda last week at their Monkey Bay base, on the shore of Lake Malawi. The boats will be used to patrol the lake, and will also engage in VIP transport/escort, search and rescue and disaster relief operations. They were delivered in pairs over the last three months.

 

James Fisher, CEO of Nautic Africa, told defenceWeb that the contract for the seven boats includes training and maintenance support over a period of five years and that Malawi is in discussions to purchase additional larger boats from the company. One option could be purchasing a 35 metre patrol boat and using it as a ‘mother ship’ from which to launch BR850s, allowing Malawi to cover a much larger area of the lake.

 

Although the BR850s were delivered without weapons, Malawi intends to arm them – the interceptors have weapons mounts for items such as 12.7 mm machineguns.

 

According to the Malawi News Agency, the delivery is a big boost to the operational capability of the Marine Unit, which has struggled to accomplish its mission of securing the country's maritime domain since its foundation in 1978.

 

The Malawi Defence Force’s maritime wing has only a few patrol boats in its inventory, including a couple of armed launches, a dozen Zodiacs and several small patrol craft, including two Namacurras donated by the South African Navy.

 

Fisher said the delivery of the BR850s was a major boost to the Marine Unit as the boats are fast, hardy and strong and suitable for beach landings and navigating shallow creeks and other waterways.

 

Banda said the acquisition of the boats was part of a comprehensive government strategy to improve the working and living conditions of the defence force.

 

"(The) government is committed to improving the living conditions for all men and women in uniform who are currently performing remarkably despite the lack of modern resources and the poor living conditions they are enduring. I am pleased to report that our soldiers who are on the peacekeeping assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are performing excellently and that is an indication of the well disciplined military that Malawi owns," Banda said.

 

The Guardian BR850 is an 8.5 mm aluminium craft with a full load displacement of 3.8 tonnes and can be carried aboard larger vessels for use on boarding operations – it has a single-point hoist mechanism, making it easy for mother ships to hoist the boat onto the water.

 

The craft has a 2.8 m beam and 60 cm draught - this shallow draft combined with a 373 kW diesel with a tunnel propeller drive allows operations close to the shore and in river deltas.

 

They craft has a maximum speed of 42 knots with a range of 295 km at that speed, or a 700 km range at 20 knots for inshore patrol or similar tasks. It is designed for a crew of two with space for a six-strong boarding party, and can be fitted with shock-mitigating seats if intended for high-speed intercept missions. Systems include a GPS/chart plotter and a 2 kW 4G broadband radar. Ballistic protection is available using Nautic’s SuperShield armour, which protects to NATO Level 3+. However, this adds a couple of tons of weight.

 

Nautic began sea trials of the 8.5 metre Guardian BR850 in December 2012. Several African customers have already ordered, and received, the BR850. Nautic Africa recently concluded a R600 million deal to build several 35 metre multi-role patrol vessels for West African clients and these will carry BR850 boats.

 

Ten and 12 metre variants of the Guardian are also available, but none have been built yet as Nautic is full up with other orders. Fisher said there was a lot of interest in the range, and expects further BR850 orders before year-end.

 

The Paramount Group last week announced it had acquired a majority stake in Nautic Africa, and once the Paramount marketing machine gets rolling, Fisher is confident of receiving many more orders – in fact, he is worried that the company won’t be able to cope and that it will need to expand it premises even more. He told defenceWeb that production capacity stands at R500 million a year, but Paramount could bring in orders worth billions.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 17:45
Combat Debut for Rooivalk

One of three Rooivalh helicopters painted white for the mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was seen at SAAF AFB Bloemspruit, home to the SA Air Force’s 16 Squadron, which operates 11 Rooivalks. Photo via Defenseweb.

 

November 7, 2013 defense-update.com

 

The South African Denel DH-2 Rooivalk attack helicopter made its combat debut on Monday 4 November, 2013 while conducting armed overwatch and close air support flights of UN personnel in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South African media has reported. The SAAF deployed three Rooivalk helicopters to the DRC in late October, clearing them to begin operations on the day that this first contact took place. This is the first time Rooivalk helicopters have engaged in combat since the prototype’s first flight 23 years ago. Another South African news outlet, DefenceWeb, reported that the Rooivalks had conducted their offensive operations against M23 positions in partnership with a pair of Mil Mi-24/35 ‘Hind’ helicopters of the FIB. The report was not clear on who was operating these Hinds, but India and Ukraine are known to have contributed such helicopters to MONUSCO – the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo.

 

Combat Debut for Rooivalk

Rooivalk firing rockets on firing demonstration.

 

Two South African Air Force (SAAF) Rooivalks fired multiple 70 mm rocket salvos against M23 rebel bunkers close to the Rwandan border, while operating on behalf of the MONUSCO and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). According to the South African website African Defence Review, early reports from sources in the area indicate that the action was successful, with the Rooivalks’ tactical approach through the clouds taking the M23 defenders by surprise and their rocket fire being accurate enough to disperse them and destroy one of the 14.5 mm anti-aircraft guns that had been previously used to fire at the Rooivalks and other helicopters.

 

The attack was combined with a renewed FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) assault and subsequent claims by the DRC government that the remaining M23 senior commanders have now fled across the border into Rwanda. However this could not be independently verified. Established in November 1999 to monitor and keep the peace in the DRC, MONUSCO currently comprises some 20,688 military and police personnel from 56 countries. According to UN figures, 61 MONUSCO personnel have been killed since the mission began.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 12:45
The Paramount Naval Systems 42 metre Frontier patrol vessel

The Paramount Naval Systems 42 metre Frontier patrol vessel

 

11 November 2013 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb

 

Paramount Naval Systems (previously Nautic Africa) has announced the development of a new 42 metre aluminium trimaran patrol vessel.

 

The announcement was made at the Thursday ceremony in Cape Town where Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence and aerospace company, formally publicised their acquisition of a majority stake in Cape Town-based ship building company Nautic Africa. The military business side of Nautic Africa has been rebranded as Paramount Naval Systems.

 

Speaking at the ceremony, CEO James Fisher noted that the new 42 m trimaran patrol vessel is the “first fruit of the association” between Paramount Group and Nautic Africa. It will also be the first time that a vessel of this nature is being designed and built in South Africa.

 

To be known as the Frontier Patrol Vessel, Fisher said that the trimaran is being developed in direct response to an obvious need in the market for a highly efficient, sea-kindly, multi-role platform.

 

Supporting the initiative, Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, said: “We are committed to the development of the South African shipbuilding industry and putting Africans at the heart of it.”

 

Nautic Africa has a legacy of only using locally designed vessels to keep the intellectual capital in South Africa.

 

Emphasising the importance of the project, Ichikowitz said that the project would be internally funded. “We consider (the new design) to be very strategic,” he said, “Not only to be proof of concept, but also to do effective trials.”

 

Michael Bakker, naval architect and head of product development, explained that the trimaran offers improved propulsive efficiency and better economy over a wider speed range when compared to the equivalent monohull.

 

“At the same time,” Bakker continued, “it will provide a more stable work platform as it has superb stability with respect to seakeeping.”

 

Building of what Fisher describes as “a cutting edge design” will commence in 2014.

 

Able to sustain itself for long durations at sea, the design features a helideck, space for two interceptor boats and a crew of 30. The top speed of 29 knots is capable of being increased to 40 knots when larger engines, of which there are two, are specified.

 

Both Ichikowitz and Fisher stressed that the new design is a way for smaller defence forces to have a patrol capability at a cheaper cost. With an increasing threat facing Africa from the sea in the form of piracy, theft of marine resources and drug trafficking, Fisher noted that “there has never been a greater need for naval security in the waters around Africa.”

 

As a result, there is a demand to have more vessels on the water. A capable vessel with a low purchase and support cost, Fisher said, can result in more vessels for a smaller budget.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 12:45
A South African Air Force Gripen flies over the Union Buildings

A South African Air Force Gripen flies over the Union Buildings

 

11 November 2013 by Guy Martin – defenceWeb

 

Enhancing the Reserve force, building up the South African Army and strengthening peacekeeping capacity are some of the Department of Defence’s main priorities, according to its annual report.

 

The report, for the 2012/13 financial year, said the enhancement of the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Landward Defence Capabilities was “essential” in order for it to carry out all the missions required of it.

 

The report noted that the South African Army received no equipment from the Strategic Defence Procurement Package, like the other arms of service did, and is thus lacking technologically advanced equipment. Enhancement “is considered a priority”, especially if the Army is to operate jointly with the Navy and Air Force.

 

More money was allocated last year to the landward defence programme, due mainly to extra maintenance requirements for the SA Army’s ageing vehicles and the renewal of some equipment. The SA Army will further be enhanced in the coming years with the delivery of Badger armoured vehicles, which are being built by Denel Land Systems.

 

Enhancing the SANDF’s peacekeeping capability and deployability was another priority, as “the role of the SANDF in promoting peace and security in the region and on the African continent necessitates the enhancement of the SANDF’s peacekeeping capability that will include the SANDF’s Forward Deployment Capability.”

 

The Department of Defence report noted that the revitalisation and transformation of the reserves was an important ongoing task, as the Reserves are needed to fulfil various defence tasks in support of the regulars. “The Reserves were transformed to fulfil their primary role of providing the majority of the conventional landward capability of the SANDF, whilst at the same time supplementing the peace support missions conducted by the Regulars,” the report noted. Thousands of reserve forces personnel were used during the 2012/13 financial year to support everything from border safeguarding to peacekeeping deployments.

 

In its report, the Department of Defence stated that it was important to review the arrangement for the repair and maintenance of defence force facilities, with the aim of establishing an in-house DoD Works Capability. This would allow the SANDF to assume full responsibility in looking after its own facilities, following problems encountered with the National Department of Public Works (NDPW).

 

“The DOD has steadily progressed with the establishment of the Defence Works Formation which is currently functional and executing identified renovation projects for facilities occupied by the DOD in close co-operation with the NDPW,” the report said. “The creation of the Works capability has enabled the DoD to assume selected custodian responsibilities from NDPW and in the process created job opportunities.”

 

Other priorities outlined in the annual report included job creation, the National Youth Service, enhancing maritime security (primarily through the South African Maritime Strategy) and restructuring and supporting the defence industry (through the Defence Review Committee).

 

A number of capacity constraints were identified by the DoD’s accounting officer that impacted on priorities, such as skills losses, which “continued throughout the period under review, resulting in some critical skills needing to be acquired from industry at exorbitant cost. Although new personnel were recruited and trained, it will take time for these members to gain the necessary experience.”

 

The skills shortage affected peace support missions, leading to the to the non-compliance with minimum standards of serviceability of major equipment. Consequently, the Department of Defence was not fully reimbursed by the United Nations for the use of its equipment.

 

As previously mentioned, the state of primary equipment, particularly within the Army, “continued to decline to unacceptable levels. Additional funding provided for maintenance and repair of the operational vehicle fleet has had some effect, but is not sufficient to address this concern adequately. The rejuvenation of these capabilities therefore remains one of the DOD’s top priorities.”

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