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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 16:45
South Africa Air Force’s A-109s grounded

24 July 2013 by defenceWeb


Not one of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) 18 Agusta A109 helicopters is currently flying because there are no funds to use them operationally, the Afrikaans daily Beeld reports.


Such funding as there is is used to start the engines on the light utility helicopters from time to time but the rotorcraft don’t take-off.


This boils down to helicopter flight crews and the rotary-winged aircraft not retaining current status for flying missions and sorties.


Along with the mothballing of 12 Gripen fighters as well as the under-utilisation of the remaining 14, this means a second aircraft type obtained as part of the Strategic Defence Acquisition Package are not being used, according to the paper’s specialist defence writer Erika Gibson.


The situation is fast reaching the critical stage, according to confidential documentation on SAAF helicopter operations.


An across the board budget cut of 60% for helicopter operations has led to an “amputation” of SAAF work nationally, a senior officer told the newspaper.


The same productivity is expected, which is almost impossible when taking into account the loss of technicians at various squadrons. The technicians were retrenched earlier this year when the Air Force did not renew a maintenance contract with AMG, a division of Denel Aviation.


This has also negatively influenced availability of the workhorse Oryx medium transport helicopter. During the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup there were at least 30 Oryxes serviceable daily. Indications are possibly 13 can now become airborne daily.


The current defence budget allocates just 71 flying hours for the year to the light utility helicopters. Making matters worse is acquisition of A109 spares has been halted, also due to financial constraints. This is also given as the reason for stopping the last helicopter pupil pilot course.


Another helicopter type operated by the SAAF – the Eurocopter BK-117 – has also fallen foul of budget cuts. All six are based in Port Elizabeth and face an uncertain future because of the apparent cancellation of a maintenance contract. This has been renewed following protracted negotiations but availability is currently reckoned at two a day.


The BK-117s were earmarked to take over from the A109s in the ongoing anti-rhino poaching operation in the Kruger National Park following a crash that saw five SA National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel killed. The low level of aircraft availability has put paid to this.


Military analyst Helmoed-Romer Heitman was scathing in his response.


“The Air Force, as with the entire SANDF is suffering as a result of government’s inability to decide what it wants from its military.


“An air force without fighters is a dead duck in the African military context. A defence force without helicopters and transport aircraft is a dinosaur in a swamp. An army without attack and transport helicopters is a lame duck and a navy without maritime helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft is blind,” was how the Defence Review Committee member reacted to the A-109 grounding coupled with other current equipment shortcomings in the SANDF.


The SAAF did not respond to the newspapers when asked for comment. defenceWeb has had the same lack of response from the airborne arm of the SANDF since Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang took over command late last year.


Enquiries routed via SANDF Corporate Communications suffer the same fate. A telephonic enquiry to DCC SSO Captain (SAN) Prince Tshabalala about the SAAF’s lack of response to media questions drew this response: “We forward it to them for action and if they don’t answer, it appears they don’t want to”.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:45
Defence acquisition briefing postponed

23 July 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb


A briefing scheduled for today for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, with defence acquisition and defence materiel the only agenda topics, has been postponed with no reason given.


“What makes it even worse is that the meeting would have been the first in four years,” said David Maynier, opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow minister of defence and military veterans. He added that no new date has yet been given for the briefing to take place.


When the meeting was announced as a closed meeting due to “the sensitive nature of information,” Maynier objected. It should have taken place at Armscor’s Pretoria headquarters, also home to the Defence and Military Veterans Ministry.


Maynier maintains that Defence Secretary Dr Sam Gulube “consistently” refuses to answer questions on defence acquisition from portfolio committee members.


“This is bizarre because there is a significant amount of information about existing defence acquisition projects such as “Hoefyster” (infantry fighting vehicles), “Saucepan” (maritime surveillance aircraft) and “Biro” (offshore patrol vessels) already in the public domain.”


The almost last minute postponement of the meeting also drew exasperated response from the former submariner.


“It has highlighted the Department of Defence’s (DoD) spectacular failure to comply with its own policy on armaments acquisition by not providing detailed reports on defence acquisition programmes,” he said from his Parliamentary office.


“The DoD’s own policy clearly requires parliament to receive biannual and ad hoc reports on all defence acquisition programmes. However, this has never happened. The defence department is thus failing to comply with its own policy on defence acquisition.


“The fact is that for the past four years parliament has been kept in the dark about defence acquisition despite billions of Rand spent every year acquiring armaments through the Special Defence Account,” he said.


Maynier gives six examples where he is of the opinion the DoD is “trying to cover up” with regard to defence acquisitions. These are the new VVIP aircraft for the Presidency (which Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told Parliament had been approved by National Treasury), prioritisation of programmes on the strategic acquisition master plan; failures experienced in the development phases of certain acquisition and development programmes; major schedule slips and significant overspending; poor planning and performance by Denel and the rollover of billions of Rand in the Special Defence Account.


He intends to submit Parliamentary questions on the issue because “we need to know exactly who is responsible for blocking Parliamentary oversight on defence acquisition”.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:45
Seeker 400 to fly in October – Denel

23 July 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Denel Dynamics’ Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will fly in October this year, but possibly earlier, the company has confirmed.


Jan Wessels, Denel Group Chief Operations Officer, told defenceWeb that ground testing is currently underway and that the first flight is officially planned for October this year, but may occur sooner. It was originally scheduled for last year, but was delayed due to contracting and certification issues.


Denel’s annual report for the 2012/13 financial year also identifies “complexities with the key subsystems” as another reason for “significant variation in the programme schedule, including a delay of the maiden flight test.”


Nevertheless, Denel said that “significant progress” has been made in the Seeker 400 development programme over the last year and that all hardware manufacturing is completed with system integration underway.


In its annual report, Denel said the projects attached to the development of the Seeker 400 accounted for revenue of R89 million during the last financial year, with investment of R60 million in the Seeker 400.


The Seeker 400 was displayed in mock-up form at the 2010 Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition. It has an endurance of 16 hours and can be armed with two Mokopa air-to-surface missiles, with a 10 km range. It is able to carry two payloads at the same time, including electro-optical/infrared and radar as well as laser rangefinder and illuminator for target designation. Denel says an electronic surveillance payload is available for the detection and location of radar emitters. Future upgrades will include satellite communications, and sense-and-avoid capability in order to obtain civil aviation certification.


Currently, the Seeker 400 has a range of 250 km, because it uses only line-of-sight communications, but it could be upgraded to use satellite communications, which would allow it to operate at much greater ranges. With the use of the existing tactical ground station (TGS), the range may be extended to 750 km.


Denel Dynamics is executing a production contract for the UAV’s launch customer (which previously operated the Seeker I) and has also attracted strong interest from other potential clients, with most demand expected to come from the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. Denel is promoting the Seeker 400 to Seeker II customers, as the new UAV can be flown with Seeker II control stations.




Also on the UAV front, Denel has changed the layout of its Hungwe commercial UAV, which went from a swept wing dart-like layout to a scaled down version of the proven Seeker II. The triangle shaped Hungwe was shown at exhibitions last year, while the new layout first came to light earlier this year. An example of the ‘new’ Hungwe was on display at Denel’s corporate offices yesterday.


This UAV has a wingspan of four metres and a weight of 35 kg. Carrying a 5 kg sensor, it has an endurance of six hours and a direct line of sight range of 100 km. The system’s service ceiling is up to 12 000 ft. The sensor turret accommodates a daylight TV camera and an infrared camera.


Mobility and portability is a prerequisite and the Hungwe’s ground control station will be quick to setup, easy to use, and compact enough to transport in the back of a commercial light utility vehicle. The ground control station comprises a laptop-based two-console unit, with stations for the sensor operator and pilot.


Denel Dynamics believes there is a large market for the Hungwe as it fills a low-cost market niche – demand could be five times that of the Seeker II. Local applications range from anti-poaching, cable theft prevention and police monitoring.


Like the Seeker 400, the Hungwe is also funded by Denel. Wessels said Denel is pushing the UAV as it believes there is a large market for civil UAVs, which are much cheaper than their military counterparts. Denel Dynamics is targeting Hungwe production by April 2014 at the latest.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:45
Denel to produce new small arms range

19 July 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


State owned defence company Denel has partnered with Swiss firm B&T to offer a new range of small arms, from submachineguns to grenade launchers.


B&T and Denel have signed a technology transfer agreement that will see Denel produce several B&T weapons in South Africa. Initially production will use some Swiss made parts while Denel gets its production line up and running, according to Patric Staudt, Technical Support Manager, Africa, at B&T.


One of the new weapons on offer is the GL-06 40 mm single shot grenade launcher, designed to only use less lethal ammunition, as it is aimed primarily at the police. It was procured by the South African Police Service for use during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.


B&T’s MP9 9 mm submachinegun will be manufactured by Denel as the GMP9. This closed bolt weapon comes standard with a number of different attachments, including a suppressor, shell catcher (mainly for use on aircraft), red dot sight and holster. It can accept 15 to 30 round magazines and has been designed to be lightweight and modular.


B&T’s carbine, the 9 mm Advanced Police Carbine 9 (APC9 - called GPC9 by Denel) was designed in 2011 as a firearm bridging the gap between a personnel defence weapon and a 5.56 mm rifle. It features a number of innovations like a hydraulic recoil reduction system to reduce muzzle lift. It is ambidextrous, modular and comes with a suppressor and different barrel length options. A 5.56 mm version is also available – Denel may offer this as a replacement for the South African National Defence Force’s R4/R5 series of assault rifles.


B&T approached Denel several years ago, and after receiving permission from the Swiss government, signed a technology transfer agreement with Denel a year ago. The Swiss company exhibited with Denel at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition outside Pretoria last year.


Denel exhibited at the Land Forces Africa conference outside Pretoria earlier this week, with the grenade launcher, submachinegun and assault rifle on display.


B&T has further collaborations with Denel and is working on an upgrade kit for Denel’s SS77 7.62 mm machinegun, which will cover things like a redesigned rail, top cover, magazine belt attachment etc. B&T may in the future sell the SS77.

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24 juillet 2013 3 24 /07 /juillet /2013 12:45
British Army tests deployable simulation system in Kenya source army-guide.com

British Army tests deployable simulation system in Kenya source army-guide.com

19 July 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Saab yesterday gave a live demonstration of its Deployable Tactical Engagement Simulation (DTES) system, which is used by the British Army for training is soldiers in Kenya and which is being promoted to the South African military.


The DTES system was designed to train a battlegroup with an opposing force (OPFOR) and a civilian population, Saab said. Each soldier carries simulation equipment, including a Personnel Detection Device (PDD) consisting of a laser-detector vest, GPS, communications with a tracking system and a link to a laser small arms transmitter (SAT). Each soldier’s weapon carries a laser sight that activates when the soldier fires a round (such as a blank training round). If another soldier gets hit by a laser shot, his PDD will indicate that he has been killed.


The entire training scenario is tracked via a computer in real time and data is sent to a command post, allowing for comprehensive after-action play-by-play review.


Saab demonstrated its DTES system at the Murrayhill Special Forces training facility outside Pretoria, as part of the Land Forces Africa conference this week. During the simulation, nearly a dozen South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers approached a building in two Mamba armoured vehicles, before a simulated IED knocked out one of the Mambas (also fitted with a simulation system that marked it inoperable). The troops then dismounted and, moving through tall grass, approached the building. Firing hundreds of rounds at the enemy, they proceeded to capture their objective.


Saab is hopeful that the SANDF will order the DTES training system, which is attracting “considerable” interest from other nations. It is already in service with the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), which has been using it for combined training since August 2009. In April 2012 Saab was awarded a two year contract extension to continue offering the training service to the British Army.


As part of the agreements with the UK, Saab will provide the DTES service for five training periods each year with an option for two additional ones, with 98% availability. Brian Drummond, the manager of the Saab base site in Nanyuki, Kenya, who is responsible for all logistic support and maintenance, said they have achieved an average 99.7% availability rate by maintaining a buffer stock of equipment at the base site, having forward-deployed technicians from Saab in Sweden and Saab Grintek Defence in South Africa.


Saab also demonstrated some of its other technology at Murrayhill, including a throwable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and a hexacopter UAV. Also on display was the company’s Chaka command and control system.


“By lending technological support to the British Army in Kenya or providing logistics and infrastructure to the SANDF, we are extremely pleased, as Saab South Africa, that our contribution is assisting defence forces fulfil their mandates,” stated Magnus Lewis-Olsson, CEO of Saab Grintek Defence.


He was referring to Saab’s involvement in Operation Corona, the SANDF’s border patrol initiative, which necessitates army training camps along the northern and eastern border between South Africa and Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Saab is currently engaged in upgrading operational base facilities for the SANDF, following the re-launch late in 2012 of the upgraded and expanded Operational Base Madimbo. This base, east of Musina near the Zimbabwe border, is the first of a number to be modernised and improved since the SANDF assumed responsibility for border security.


Operational Base Madimbo includes a command centre, airstrip, a parade ground, water purification facilities, and new medical and two way radio battery charging facilities. Roads, the electrical supply, and sewerage systems, and a vehicle wash bay with oil and water separators were upgraded, while new messes with enlarged kitchen, laundry and recreation facilities were installed. The base also includes a new military police facility.


Saab has camp building experience on peacekeeping operations, having assisted the African Union and the United Nations on the continent. One mission has seen Saab setting up a complete turn-key camp solution in the horn of Africa. In the same multilateral environments, Saab said it has successfully provides explosive ordance disposal products in East and West Africa for training of and for safe unexploded ordance and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) destruction purposes. The company has also provided maintenance, repair and overhaul activities for vehicles, generators, water purification plants, air-conditioning units and patrol boats.


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1 juillet 2013 1 01 /07 /juillet /2013 16:45
Kolskoot showcasing laser firearm simulation

01 July 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


South African company Kolskoot Dimension Software Engineering is bringing laser technology to the forefront of firearms training with its software and hardware simulating everything from skeet shooting to hunting.


Kolskoot uses an infrared camera to detect where a laser hits a target. This target can be on any surface, whether it is projected onto a wall or displayed on a TV set. The system can also be added to an iPhone. Using an iPhone app, a user is able to set up shooting parameters, from wind to bullet calibre. The iPhone’s camera does the rest, detecting and recording where the laser hit the target. All that’s needed for this slimmed down version is the R399 app and a laser adapter.


The base system, with two shooting lanes, costs R25 000 and comprises of the software and camera, but can be upgraded to allow four people to shoot at once. The lasers cost R500, and can convert any airsoft weapon (pistol, assault rifle, hunting rifle, shotgun) into a laser simulator weapon. It is also possible to convert one’s own handgun or hunting rifle into a simulator weapon.


Kolskoot Dimension Software Engineering also makes use of a laser cartridge that is manufactured by Red-I-Laser. It looks like a real cartridge but emits a short laser flash when the firing pin strikes it. These cartridges cost R2 000 each and are available in a wide variety of calibres.


Johan Hammes, co-owner of Kolskoot, told defenceWeb that his company has done a lot of work to create a truly portable system that comprises a laptop, lasers and projector. A USB video camera is plugged in to the laptop to see where each laser ‘bullet’ strikes. The Windows-based software is used to set up the shooting environment and alters everything from ammunition loading to sight height. A variety of training programmes can be used that teach everything from the basics of handgun training to simulated combat and skeet shooting and hunting.


Kolskoot Dimension’s offering is aimed at the commercial and private sectors and is more cost effective than military-spec simulators. Various training modules are available for different users, including sport shooting, clay targets, hunting, bird hunting, assault rifle and handgun training.


Fully working firearms can be used with a compatible short flash laser, or airsoft weapons can be used following conversion. Piston kits are available for certain weapons, giving simulated recoil when the weapons are fired. However, it’s not just firearms that can be simulated – Kolskoot Dimension Software Engineering has also developed mortar simulators and, using simulation software, such as Earthworks, can replicate real world environments that people can train in.


Kolskoot first came onto the market at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition in September 2012, but under a different name. Since then, “the response has been very good,” Hammes said.


Kolskoot has two main markets in South Africa: the security industry and private companies like Transnet. The South African Army also uses the system to a limited degree, for basic weapons handling training. Internationally, Kolskoot does better in the home entertainment sector, and in countries where simulated hunting is more accessible than the real thing. Kolskoot is also popular in the Far East where firearms are restricted. A number of enquiries have come from Turkey, Japan and the Phillippines.

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1 juillet 2013 1 01 /07 /juillet /2013 16:45
Hoefyster production contract on the way

01 July 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


A production contract for the Badger infantry fighting vehicle for the South African National Defence Force has been approved and is currently with Armscor, which will send it out to industry.


According to Dr Sam Gulube, Secretary for Defence, the Badger production contract under Project Hoefyster was approved in February this year. He said he hoped to see the first production Badger vehicle roll off the assembly line by the end of 2013 and the last in 2023.


Up until recently the programme was in the development phase. Gulube said the approval of the production phase, worth R8 billion over the next ten years, had been taken to Armscor. “Right now Armscor is contracting production and ensuring local production etc. I don’t know where they are today,” he told journalists last week.


The production order is believed to be for 264 vehicles, to be placed with prime contractor Denel Land Systems (DLS), which sees it as a make or break contract for the company, as two thirds of its energy is directed towards this programme.


DLS is concurrently developing five different variants of the Badger infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). Project Hoefyster is utilising five modular combat turret variants, armed with the home-grown GI-30 (30 mm CamGun) and 60 mm breech-loading long-range mortar system. The Ingwe anti-tank missile system is integrated into the anti-tank variant of the 8x8 armoured modular vehicle platforms.


The industrialisation and production of the Badger will be done in South Africa, creating an estimated 2 000 jobs and benefiting more than 100 subcontractors in the supply chain. It will also see the South African Army gain a replacement for its rapidly ageing Ratel infantry combat vehicles.


Hoefyster has led to spinoffs, the most important of which is a contract from Malaysia for turrets. In July last year it was announced that Malaysia had signed a 343 million euro (R3.5 billion) contract for turrets and weapons to be integrated onto their 8x8 armoured vehicles. This includes 69 x two man turrets fitted with the South African GI30 30mm main gun and 54 x missile turrets equipped with the GI30 30mm gun and Denel Dynamics Ingwe anti-tank missile system. The order also includes the supply of 216 laser-guided Ingwe missiles and 54 x remote control weapons systems. This contract would not have been possible without Hoefyster.


The Malaysian turret deal means six years of work on this project for DLS. Malaysia ordered 257 FNSS/Deftech AV-8 8x8 armoured vehicles, to be manufactured by Deftech of Malaysia, which will be fitted with the Denel turrets.

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29 juin 2013 6 29 /06 /juin /2013 11:45
Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube

Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube

28 June 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


The South African defence industry needs to be strengthened, particularly through consolidation and domestic orders, according to industry players and the Secretary for Defence.


“A vibrant, focused and successful defence industry is a major asset to our country,” Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube said. “The defence industry is important in supporting the foreign policy of government and supports the national development agenda of our country.”


He was speaking yesterday during the official unveiling of DCD Protected Mobility’s new factory in Isando. Gulube said it was as an example of a proudly South African company that could meet the needs of the SANDF and contribute to socio-economic development.


“As the Department of Defence, we understand that we need to urgently stimulate the defence industry in this country…by ensuring that contracts are placed timeously to meet our objectives.” Gulube said the four main objectives of the Department were border security, anti-piracy patrols/maritime security, peacekeeping operations and the protection of South Africa’s people and resources.


In the short term, investing in local capacity is expensive but it pays off in the long run, Gulube pointed out. “From a government standpoint, we have learnt lessons from the Strategic Defence Package. I think despite all attempts to emphasise industrial participation, we could have done better. We could have gone for better local content,” he said, noting that the submarines, fighters and frigates were “forklifted” into South Africa and that they are proving expensive to maintain because when they need to be serviced, components have to be shipped outside the country. “It is not always cheaper to buy overseas as maintenance is very expensive.”


DCD Protected Mobility General Manager Andrew Mears yesterday said that his company was ready to support the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) requirements for military vehicles. DCD Group Managing Director Rob King said that, “We can support Denel, Armscor, and the Department of Defence in consolidating South Africa’s defence industry by enabling SANDF contracts to be awarded to local manufacturers.”


Mears emphasised that creating a sustainable global business needs cooperation with the state, suppliers and traditional competitors. “This will likely result in industry consolidation,” he said. “If we realistically look at the South African market, it is too small for existing players,” Mears said and pointed to Paramount’s acquisition of ATE as an example of industry consolidation. “This industry is not going to work in the future without partnerships.” This is especially true given the global economic situation, as going it alone will be difficult. “Due to the global economic downturn…there are challenging times ahead,” he said.


Mears applauded the draft Defence Review, which supports local industry. “We are excited by the Defence Review…The Department of Defence is going to guide the restructuring of the South African defence industry. We stand by with the government and international industry to revive South Africa’s defence industry.”


The comments on industry consolidation were echoed by Paramount Group Executive Director Ivor Ichikowitz, who said earlier this month that South Africa has to present an SA Incorporated face to the rest of the world. “The defence industry really isn’t a place in some countries like South Africa for a huge amount of competition,” he said, adding that it didn’t make sense for companies to duplicate efforts. If companies competed against each other, they would lose business.


“It is absolutely imperative that big players in South Africa look at consolidation. There is no option to compete in the international market,” Ichikowitz said. The Executive Chairman told journalists that Paramount will work with Denel to consolidate the rest of South Africa’s defence industry – not necessarily through acquisition but also by supporting smaller companies.

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29 juin 2013 6 29 /06 /juin /2013 11:30
Turkey orders Husky mine detection vehicles

28 June 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Turkey has become the most recent customer to order Husky mine detection vehicles, with DCD Protected Mobility about to deliver four to the country.


DCD Protected Mobility General Manager Andrew Mears said that Turkey had expressed interest in the company’s mine detection vehicles since 2004. However, when certain other defence deals with South Africa did not go through around this time, the Husky sale was halted as a result – for example in 2007, Turkey chose Agusta’s A129 Mangusta attack helicopter over Denel’s Rooivalk partly due to political hurdles.


Now, Turkey has placed an order, with three vehicles ready to be shipped and the last one on the production line. Mears said he hoped that all four vehicles would be ready to be shipped to Turkey next week.


He said the Turks would use the vehicle on their southeastern border with Syria, Iran and Iraq, where Kurdish rebels have until recently been fighting for autonomy.


Mears was confident that further orders would be forthcoming.


Turkey will receive the Husky 2G, a two-seat variant. The addition of a second on-board operator allows the Husky driver to focus on vehicle control and situational awareness, while the second operator monitors and analyses the advanced sensor systems and the operational environment.


The Husky VMMD (Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector), 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 and Spain. More than 400 Huskies have been sold and as of January 2012, the Husky system had taken 7 000 hits in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no mine or improvised explosive device fatalities.


The US Army recognised the Husky vehicle design with an Innovation of the Year Award for 2010.

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25 juin 2013 2 25 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
SANDF hosts first SADC surveillance commanders’ course

25 June 2013 by defenceWeb/SA Soldier


In a first for the South African Defence Intelligence College (SADIC) officers from nine Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have successfully completed a surveillance commanders’ course.


The eight week long course is designed to give the 17 junior officers attending the practical skills needed to become capable surveillance commanders at sub-unit level.


Working at squadron level course attendees went through battlefield surveillance followed by a command and control module before tackling the final modules of warfare and battlefield procedures.


This, SA Soldier said, equips them to apply and execute responsible drills as troop commanders.


Proof of the willingness of those on course wanting to learn came with a student average of 81% across all modules.


Zambian Major Edgar Musanse, course chairman, said on completion of the course that the training was the first of its kind to be presented for the SADC brigade.


“The officers before you have successfully acquired the knowledge to see the brigade effectively implement its role in the SADC region,” he told a certificate ceremony.


SA National Defence Force (SANDF) director: special acquisitions Brigadier General Raymond Moroane, urged course attendees to maintain contact saying it was “a crucial part” of strengthening bilateral ties and diplomatic co-operation among SADC members.


Apart from the host country, South Africa, other SADC member states represented at the first surveillance commanders’ course were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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24 juin 2013 1 24 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Rapid redesign makes Gecko a watercraft

20 June 2013 by defenceWeb/CSIR


A quick reaction task undertaken by the CSIR for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), specifically its Special Forces, has added waterborne rescue to the number of tasks the Gecko vehicle can perform.


The quick reaction tasks have to be completed within 24 to 72 hours and typically require a customised, solid but cost effective solution to address an urgent force deployment need said Klaus Muller, project leader for the CSIR’s technology for special operations team.


Faced with having to rescue flood victims from trees or roofs the SANDF required an easily-deployable means of reaching and transporting people through raging rivers. With the option of re-inventing a new craft not a possibility the CSIR determined ways of turning Gecko vehicles already in use by Special Forces into a waterborne platform.


“Quick reaction tasks are time and mission critical and require extreme agility and innovative thinking. We follow a proper engineering process – but it all has to happen very fast. The needs could vary from creating an object by 3-D printing or adapting existing technologies or weapons to deal with specific situations encountered during operations to applications, such as custom maps on mobile phones. We also do maritime work to support anti-piracy efforts.


“We receive these calls at any time and must be ready to support the Special Operations teams to perform their duties,” Muller said.


Small and agile as its namesake, the Gecko is often used during specialised military operations – including reconnaissance and rescue missions. With a small trailer attached it carries personnel and ammunition or it can be turned into a command and control unit with communications infrastructure.


Both Gecko and trailer can be air-dropped for rapid deployment in all terrain types. The Gecko by itself was not sufficiently buoyant or stable in deeper water and stronger currents.


Investigations were conducted into various means of getting the Gecko “to swim”.


The solution had to be manoeuvrable and strong enough to propel the vehicle and trailer, handle various angles (such as when motoring down a river bank into the water) and be robust enough to carry several people. Numerous computer-aided designs were created and modelled. The final concept comprised a steel frame with several commercial off-the-shelf fenders fitted around the sides of the vehicle. Additional power is provide by an electrical engine fitted on the frame.


In field trials, the number of fenders was alternated to find the best solution – and the best load capacity. The final product has sufficient fenders to carry up to ten adults.

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24 juin 2013 1 24 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Third Denel A400M work package re-negotiated after acquisition cancellation

20 June 2013 by defenceWeb


The loss of a multi-million Rand contract as a result of South Africa’s withdrawal from the A400M programme has been successfully re-negotiated thanks to the ability of a Denel Group company to deliver on time and within budget in the high-tech composite manufacturing sector.


Denel Aerostructures (DAe) was this week given its third work package on the new generation Airbus airlifter after completing initial design of tail plane detail parts.


“Manufacturing was placed on hold following South Africa’s decision to cancel its acquisition of the A400M. Airbus Military last year gave the green light for manufacturing which was followed by signing of a re-negotiated agreement for the ribs, spars and sword of the tail plane. This will mirror DAe’s ramped up production of wing to fuselage fairing and top shells,” chief executive Ismail Dockrat said following the official announcement of the contract at the Paris Airshow.


He said the third work package on the A400M placed DAe at “the core of the global aerospace manufacturing industry”.


The new package will see the ribs, spars and sword of the A400M vertical tail plane produced in virtual sterile conditions adjacent to OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park.


The 7x2m structure consists of two vertical beams (the spars), 16 horizontal composite machinings (the ribs) and a bottom connecting plate (the sword). All are made from carbon fibre composites, covered by a metallic skin which is added to the internal structure prior to assembly.


“This component is a flight critical part of an aircraft the size of the A400M and contributes to its ability to carry payloads in excess of 35 tons,” Dockrat said.


With relocation of all its operations completed and now under a single roof DAe is confident of even more improved efficiencies and further cost cutting.


“It also positions the company well for future manufacturing work for Airbus and other original equipment manufacturers,” Dockrat said.


DAe has also made what he called “significant investment” in a composite facility. Products ranging from basic aircraft parts through to complex main rotor blades for helicopters can now be manufactured on site. Raw carbon fibre material is bonded, moulded, heated and polished until the required properties are achieved.


DAe’s investment in high-tech composite manufacturing is in line with the international aerospace sector where the move away from metallic structures to advanced materials with superior properties is well underway. Durability, hardness, elasticity and high strength-to-weight ratios are hallmarks of the new composite technology.


Dockrat sees DAe’s move in this area as complimentary to government’s aerospace sector development plan.

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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 11:45
More A400M work for Denel Aerostructures

19 June 2013 by defenceWeb


The quality of work produced by Denel Aerostructures (DAe) for the new generation A400M airlifter has been rewarded with a third work package worth R200 million by Airbus Military.


The multi-million Rand contract will see the Kempton Park-based aerostructure design and manufacturing operation producing ribs, spars and swords (the skeletal support structure) for the A400M.


An indication of the esteem the Denel Group company is held in by the original equipment manufacturer came from Airbus Military chief executive, Domingo Urena, when he spoke at this week’s Paris Airshow where the contract for the third work package was signed.


“Denel, with its diverse set of expertise, capabilities and capacities is central to Airbus Military’s ambition to develop an expanded and multi-facetted partnership with South Africa’s high-tech aerospace and defence industry, tied to South Africa’s military aircraft requirements and acquisitions,” he said.


Preparations are underway at DAe adjacent to OR Tambo International Airport for launch production of components with the first finished shipset to Airbus’ vertical tail plane factory at Stade in Germany scheduled for March next year.


Under a renegotiated contract announced last September, the South African manufacturer is also responsible for two other A400M work packages involving design, engineering and fabrication of the wing-to-fuselage fairing and the fuselage top shells for the A400M.


The wing-to-fuselage fairing is the largest single aerostructure component ever produced in South Africa and provides an aerodynamic shroud over sensitive equipment located in the aircraft’s centre wing section. The fairing protects the equipment from lightning, hail damage and bird strikes.


The fuselage top shells are made up of more than 1 100 individual parts and a large machined skin, engineered out of an aluminium alloy. Each A400M is fitted with two top shells, positioned in front and behind the wings where they join the fuselage. They are also fitted with approximately 1 000 brackets which support electrical and electronic wiring, hot air and heat exchange pipes and emergency life rafts.


The latest work package to be awarded to DAe is contracted to run over the entire life of the A400m programme. This, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said, was another indication of Airbus Military’s confidence in both Denel and South Africa’s design and manufacturing capabilities, coupled with the company’s ability to deliver on time and within budget.

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13 juin 2013 4 13 /06 /juin /2013 07:45
Le nouveau chef militaire de la MONUSCO, le général brésilien Carlos Dos Santos Cruz à Goma le 11 juin (Photo: Sylvain Liechti/MONUSCO)

Le nouveau chef militaire de la MONUSCO, le général brésilien Carlos Dos Santos Cruz à Goma le 11 juin (Photo: Sylvain Liechti/MONUSCO)

12/06/2013 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca


Des Casques bleus Tanzaniens de la Brigade d’intervention de la Force de la MONUSCO patrouillent déjà régulièrement de jour comme de nuit, dans la localité de Sake et sur l’axe menant vers Goma et d’autres patrouilles sont également conduites conjointement avec le bataillon Indien de la MONUSCO, dans la ville de Goma, ont indiqué les responsables de la MONUSCO.

Le but est, non seulement de se familiariser avec le terrain, mais aussi d’interdire dès maintenant toute activité des groupes armés dans cette zone.

Par ailleurs, dans une déclaration mercredi à Goma, en République démocratique du Congo, le nouveau chef militaire de la mission des Nations unies au Congo (Monusco), entré en fonction le 1er juin dernier, le général brésilien Carlo Alberto dos Santos Cruz, a affirmé qu’il n’accepte pas «les attaques contre les populations» et utilisera «tous les moyens possibles» pour poursuivre les auteurs de crimes contre l’humanité, rapporte aujourd’hui l’AFP.

«Nous n’acceptons pas les crimes, les attaques contre les populations ou contre les Nations- Unies et nous allons utiliser tous les moyens» pour y mettre un terme, a dit le général brésilien lors de sa première visite officielle dans la capitale régionale du Nord-Kivu, en compagnie du responsable de la Monusco, l’Américain Roger Meece,

Dos Santos Cruz a promis que toutes ses troupes prendront part aux opérations contre les groupes armés dans l’est de la RDC, et pas seulement la nouvelle brigade d’intervention dotée d’un mandat plus offensif et qui a commencer à se déployer il y a quelques semaines.

«Il n’y aura aucune tolérance pour des crimes comme les meurtres, les viols, le pillage, le recrutement forcé», a-t-il encore ajouté «Nous allons coordonner avec les autorités locales et les forces armées toutes les actions pour interrompre ces formes de violences et apporter la paix au peuple du Congo».

Le Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies a adopté en mars une résolution qui renforce la Mission de l’ONU en République démocratique du Congo en créant pour la première fois une force d’intervention de plus de 3 000 hommes au mandat offensif chargée de «neutraliser les groupes armés» opérant à l’Est.

Les premiers éléments de la Brigade d’intervention qui sera, à terme, composée de soldats tanzaniens, malawites et sud-africains, ont commencé à arriver à Goma le mois dernier, des Casques bleus de la Brigade d’intervention ont déjà commencé leur travail et le général Dos Santos Cruz a dit aujourd’hui que 40% des forces de la Brigade étaient déjà en place et qu’elle «devrait être en pleine capacité fin juillet.»

Par ailleurs, l’actuel chef de la MONUSCO, Roger Meece quittera ses fonctions le 10 juillet prochain après trois années passées à la tête de la MONUSCO, pour être remplacé par Martin Kobler, de nationalité allemande, dont la nomination comme le prochain Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies en RDC et Chef de la MONUSCO a été annoncé aujourd’hui.

M. Kobler est actuellement le Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies en Irak.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Sentinel-LE system

Sentinel-LE system

June 10, 2013 Paramount Group


African aerospace and defense company Paramount Group has acquired Advanced Technology and Engineering Co. (ATE), one of the longest running aerospace engineering firms in Africa.


ATE, which specializes in the production of avionics, sensor systems and unmanned aircraft systems technology, was acquired by Paramount in a "business rescue," saving the company from liquidation, Paramount said.


"With South Africa becoming a fully-fledged member of BRICS it's imperative that we enter a new phase of industrialization. The development of home-grown technology, skills and manufacturing capabilities are crucial if we are to capitalize on the world's appetite to do business in our region," said Ivor Ichikowiz, executive chairman of the Paramount Group.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 16:45
Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group

Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 10 (UPI)


South Africa's Paramount Group has acquired Advanced Technology and Engineering Co. Pty. Ltd., a move which has saved ATE from liquidation.


ATE is an aeronautical engineering company specializing in avionics, sensor systems and upgrades for helicopter and fighter aircraft,


"Paramount Group's success lies in our confidence and faith in Africa's technical ability," said Ivor Ichikowitz, Paramount's executive chairman. "This transaction will aid the continent, allow us to drive research and development in this high-tech field, and participate as one of the leading global industry players.


"This acquisition not only safeguards service delivery for ATE's worldwide customers, but builds on our commitment to grow Africa's high-tech competence.


"With South Africa becoming a fully-fledged member of BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] it's imperative that we enter a new phase of industrialization. The development of home-grown technology, skills and manufacturing capabilities are crucial if we are to capitalize on the world's appetite to do business in our region," Ichikowitz said.


Financial and other details of the transaction were not disclosed but Paramount said its acquisition will preserve about 250 ATE jobs.


BRICS, formed in 2010, is an association for promotion of the national economies of emerging nations.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 12:45
Vulture UAV

Vulture UAV

JOHANNESBURG, June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --


ATE (Advanced Technology and Engineering Company (Pty) Ltd), une des plus anciennes entreprises d'aéronautique d'Afrique, spécialisée dans la fabrication de produits de haute technologie pour les marchés mondiaux de la défense, a évité la liquidation suite à son rachat par Paramount Group, un des plus importants groupes de défense et d'aéronautique d'Afrique. Ainsi, un savoir-faire et une technologie essentiels vont pouvoir rester en Afrique.


L'entreprise d'ingénierie aéronautique, qui se spécialise dans les drones, l'avionique, les systèmes de détection et les mises à niveau des hélicoptères et des avions de chasse, va devenir la propriété du Paramount Group, suite à la finalisation d'un accord permettant de sauver 250 emplois hautement qualifiés.


L'acquisition de Paramount Group garantit le maintien de cette activité stratégique et ajoute de nouvelles capacités considérables et sophistiquées au portefeuille de produits du groupe.


Pour Ivor Ichikowitz, président exécutif de Paramount Group :


« La réussite de Paramount Group est basée sur notre confiance et notre fidélité dans la capacité technique de l'Afrique. Cette transaction va aider le continent, nous permettre de continuer la recherche et le développement dans ces domaines de haute technologie et continuer d'être un acteur majeur de l'industrie au niveau mondial. »


« Cette acquisition non seulement protège les prestations de services en direction des clients d'ATE dans le monde entier, mais maintient notre engagement pour le développement des compétences africaines en matière de haute technologie. »


« Étant donné que l'Afrique du Sud est devenue un membre à part entière de BRICS, il est impératif que nous lancions une nouvelle phase d'industrialisation. Le développement local de technologies, de talents et de capacités de fabrication est primordial si nous voulons profiter du désir du monde entier de faire des affaires dans notre région », conclut M. Ichikowitz.


L'incorporation d'ATE va améliorer la position de Paramount Group en tant que principal groupe privé de défense et d'aéronautique africain, grâce à une offre solide et diversifiée à l'intention des forces terriennes, marines et aériennes.


Paramount suit une trajectoire de croissance qui va encore plus s'accélérer avec l'intégration des compétences d'ATE dans ses activités actuelles. Paramount Group va également étoffer son expertise dans les marchés civils de la surveillance des frontières, les patrouilles côtières, la protection de l'environnement et les services de réaction aux accidents et aux catastrophes.


Paramount Group : Le plus important groupe de défense et d'aéronautique africain et un partenaire de confiance des gouvernements souverains. http://www.paramountgroup.biz ou http://www.ivorichikowitz.com Suivez-nous sur Twitter.


ATE : Spécialiste en ingénierie aéronautique depuis plus de 27 ans, ATE propose des solutions pour tous les types de missions militaires et civiles. http://www.ATE-southafrica.com

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 18:35
SA not going to Royal Australian Navy international fleet review

05 June 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb


The South African Navy (SAN) will not have a seaborne presence at the single largest naval event of the year – the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) international fleet review scheduled for October.


The review will commemorate the centenary of the first entry of the RAN fleet into Sydney.


The review, according to the RAN, is a high profile international event and the RAN’s signature commemorative event for 2013. Planned in partnership with the New South Wales government and the city of Sydney, it is anticipated that about 40 visiting warships and 12 tall ships will participate. The RAN Sea Power Conference 2013 and Pacific 2013 International Maritime Congress and Exhibition will run as complementary events to the international fleet review.


A spokesman for the SA Navy said the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force was invited to be part of the Sydney international fleet review but would not be attending due to “other prior commitments”. Australia did not take part in democratic South Africa’s first international fleet review in 1998.


Currently 19 navies have accepted the invitation from the RAN. They include the Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, People’s Liberation Army Navy, French Navy, Indian Navy, Indonesian Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, Royal Malaysian Navy, Federated States of Micronesia Maritime Police Unit, Royal New Zealand Navy, Papua New Guinea Defence Force – Maritime Operations Element, Republic of Singapore Navy, Spanish Navy, Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Thai Navy, Russian Navy, Tongan Defence Services – Maritime Force, the Royal Navy and the US Navy.


The host country will have no less than 19 of its warships in the review lead by HMAS Sydney, one of four guided missile frigates in its fleet. Other RAN maritime assets in the review include fisheries protection vessels, amphibious heavy lifters, submarines, Anzac Class frigates, a Bay Class landing ship dock, minehunters, heavy landing craft and survey and hydrographic vessels.


The RAN will confirm all navies and ships for the international fleet review closer to the event.


South African and Australia are both members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary initiative seeking to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the Indian Ocean region’s littoral states.


South Africa currently chairs IONS, with SA Navy Chief Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu due to hand over chairmanship to Australia. This will happen at the next IONS gathering in Perth next year.


Apart from Australia and South Africa, IONS counts 33 members. Member states are Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Little terror threat in South Africa – report



05 June 2013 by Oscar Nkala/defenceWeb


South Africa has not been identified as having any major terrorist threats, according to a new US Department of State report, which warns that jihadist terrorism remains a major security threat across Africa.


The “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012” report details how terrorists are taking advantage of post-revolutionary turmoil across North Africa and warns of insecurity in the Sahel and West Africa, where 175 terrorist attacks and 15 cases of kidnapping were confirmed by the end of 2012.


The US government report did not record any terror activity in South Africa. However, in October, the government opened its testimony as the prosecution witness in a case involving Henry Okah, the leader for the Movement for Defense of the Niger Delta. Okah, a South African citizen since 2003, stood trial in the Gauteng South High Court for his role in the twin bombings during the October 2010 Independence Day Anniversary celebrations in Abuja, Nigeria, that killed and wounded scores of people.


On January 21 this year, Okah was found guilty on 13 counts of terrorism, and on March 26, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. This case is one of the first to be prosecuted under the 2004 Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act.


The report said that South Africa has recently taken steps to address document fraud and border security vulnerability, with the Department of Home Affairs introducing more secure passports and an electronic accounting system to combat corruption.


South Africa participated in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance programme, attending courses on Maritime Interdiction, Explosive Ordinance and Forensics, Land Border Interdiction, Management of Special Events, Document Fraud, and Crime Scene Management. South African officials also participated directly with the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana.


“Unfortunately, South African attendance at these courses was plagued by poor participation and it attendees were often unaffiliated with counterterrorism activities,” the report said.


It also criticised a lack of cooperation with US officers working on counterterrorism issues, who “have been largely prevented from engaging their counterparts...This has also inhibited coordination and information exchanges between some South Africa government agencies and western interlocutors on counterterrorism issues.”


Overall, the Country Reports 2012 document outlined significant terror threats in the rest of Africa, including Mali, Somalia, Nigeria and Algeria. In its assessment of world-wide terrorism and money-laundering activities in 2012, the State Department also accused Iran, Cuba, Syria and Eritrea of sponsoring terrorism or harbouring terror organisations and operatives.


The “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012” said that while the threat of al Qaeda has been diminished, the group retains the capacity to inspire, plot and launch transnational attacks from safe havens in western Pakistan. Leadership losses have also driven al Qaeda affiliates to become more independent. Both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have taken steps to seize land and impose their authority over local populations, the report said.


It also notes a remarkable increase in the number of al Qaeda inspired and affiliated terrorist groups in Africa. In East Africa, the report said Somali militant groups al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, which claim allegiance to the Yemeni-based AQAP, remained active throughout 2012, carrying out attacks inside Somalia and Kenya while extending tentacles into Tanzania.


The report cites the arrest of al Qaeda and al Shabaab associate Emrah Erdogan in Dar es Salaam in June 2012. It also accuses Eritrea of sponsoring elements of al Shabaab for operations in Somalia.


"(In 2012), al Shabaab continued to control large sections of rural areas in the middle and lower Juba regions, as well as Bay and Bakol regions, and augmented its presence in northern Somalia along the Golis Mountains and within Puntland’s larger urban areas. Areas under al Shabaab control provided a permissive environment for the group to train operatives, including foreign fighters, and plot attacks. The ability of Somali federal, local, and regional authorities to prevent and pre-empt al Shabaab terrorist attacks remained limited," the report said.


In Central Africa, the State Department said acts of terror were recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad and the Central Africa Republic by the Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony.


Despite the setbacks suffered by the Pakistani-based al Qaeda, its affiliates AQIM and AQAP, the State Department said the Arab Spring revolutions which swept across North Africa led to a proliferation of home-grown jihadist groups fomenting the insecurity presently prevailing across the Maghreb, Sahel and West African regions.


"Though the al Qaeda core is on a path to defeat, and its two most dangerous affiliates have suffered serious setbacks, tumultuous events in the Middle East and North Africa have complicated the counterterrorism picture.


“The dispersal of weapons stocks in the wake of the revolution in Libya, the Tuareg rebellion, and the coup d’état in Mali presented terrorists with new opportunities. In Libya, the security vacuum in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution provided greater opportunity for terrorists to operate. This vacuum, combined with the weakness of Libya’s nascent security institutions, allowed violent extremists to act, as we saw too clearly on September 11 in Benghazi, when J Christopher Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya, and three staff members, died during attacks on US facilities," the report read.


In Egypt, the report pointed out a resurgence of terror groups which have repeatedly launched attacks against Israel from the Sinai desert, and a rise in Salafist militant Islam in Tunisia where French targets were attacked.


Terrorism also remained a serious problem in Morocco and Mauritania although security forces were able to foil various plots and make pre-emptive arrests which resulted in the dismantling of a number of terrorist cells.


However, Algeria remained the focal point for transnational terrorism in the region with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Mali-based Movement for Jihad and Oneness in West Africa (MUJAO) and several other home-grown offshoots of al Qaeda active throughout the year.


"AQIM remained a significant security threat to Algeria in 2012,” the report said. “AQIM operated primarily in the mountainous areas east of Algiers and in the expansive desert regions near Algeria's southern border. The deteriorating security situation in neighbouring northern Mali, the proliferation of weapons smuggled out of Libya, and the emergence of the Mali-based Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), which targeted Algeria on several occasions, all contributed to the terrorist threat to Algeria. Within Algeria, AQIM remained the most active terrorist threat. The group’s Algeria-based contingent remains dedicated to the overthrow of the Algerian government.


"Despite Algeria’s counterterrorism efforts, AQIM continued to execute suicide attacks, attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and ambushes in areas outside Algiers. In total, Algeria’s National Gendarmerie reported at least 175 terrorist acts in 2012. The majority of these attacks occurred in the northern Kabylie region," the State Department said.


“Following the March 2012 coup that toppled the elected government of President Amadou Toumani Touré, northern Mali – representing 10% of Mali’s population and over half of its territory – was taken over by terrorist groups including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Ansar al-Dine (AAD)," the State Department said.


Further, it noted that although the French-led military intervention has succeeded in stabilising most of northern Mali, terror groups have been dispersed into other countries.


"AQIM and other terrorist organizations were able to operate within undergoverned spaces in Nigerien territory, in particular the border areas with Libya, Algeria, and Mali. Porous borders and the huge expanse of Niger that lacks a permanent government presence provided terrorist groups with an environment conducive to recruiting, contraband smuggling, and kidnapping.


"Arms from Libya, including heavy weapons, have been trafficked into and through Niger, despite the government’s efforts to disarm mercenaries of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Historic tensions with Tuareg rebel groups, traditionally associated with cross-Sahara smuggling in northern Niger, contributed to the potential establishment of a breeding ground for future terrorists, as limited job opportunities for former rebels and returnees from Libya may provide recruits."


According to the report, in 2012 Nigeria continued to face a more serious security threat from two Islamist groups - Boko Haram and its splinter movement, the Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa (Ansaru) - which conducted killings, bombings and kidnappings, mostly in Yobe, Adamawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kogi, Plateau, Kaduna, Borno, Gombe, Taraba States and the capital Abuja.


The report also praised ongoing counter-terror and anti-money laundering collaborations between various arms of the US security services and several countries in Africa saying this is the only way the continent can win the war on terrorism.


Yesterday Nigeria formally declared Boko Haram and Ansaru terrorist groups and issued a law to ban them. The law prescribes a prison term of "not less than 20 years" for anybody who solicits or supports the groups. Boko Haram has killed around 3 600 people since 2009.

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29 mai 2013 3 29 /05 /mai /2013 07:45
Défense : l’Afrique du Sud critique la RDC

28/05/2013 Philippe Omotundo - afrique7.com


La ministre sud-africaine de la Défense a confirmé vendredi dernier l’envoi de soldats en République Démocratique du Congo dans le cadre de la brigade onusienne, tout en critiquant ouvertement la gestion de l’armée congolaise par les autorités de ce pays.


Selon son secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon, cette brigade d’intervention doit être prête d’ici un à deux mois. Les 3 000 hommes qui la composeront, en provenance du Malawi, de la Tanzanie et de l’Afrique du Sud, viendront en renfort des 17 000hommes de la MONUSCO (Mission de l’ONU pour la Stabilisation de la RDC). La contribution sud-africaine à cette brigade onusienne est d’environ 1 000 hommes. Mais la ministre sud-africaine à la Défense a tenu a rappeler les défaillances de l’administration  congolaise dans la gestion de son armée, notamment dans la rémunération des soldats.


Pretoria s’est engagé à poursuivre son travail de baby-sitter jusqu’à ce que, comme l’Afrique du Sud après les élections multiraciales de 1994, la République Démocratique du Congo parvienne à une restructuration réussie de ses instances gouvernementales. Pour Ban Ki-moon, qui était vendredi à Kigali dans le cadre d’une tournée régionale, l’objectif de cette force, la stabilisation du Congo et plus particulièrement de sa partie orientale, ne pourra être atteint sans une contribution du Rwanda. Ce souhait de voir une mobilisation régionale pour résoudre cette crise a vu sa première concrétisation avec la signature fin février par onze pays de la région d’un accord-cadre visant à ramener la paix dans l’est de la RDC.


L’Afrique du Sud compte également des soldats déployés en République Centrafricaine. Ce déploiement des soldats sud-africains à l’étranger ne fait pas toujours l’unanimité dans le pays. Le gouvernement avait été critiqué par l’opposition après la mort de 14 soldats lors d’affrontements avec les rebelles centrafricains du Séléka d’avoir utilisé l’armée pour défendre des intérêts personnels.

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8 mai 2013 3 08 /05 /mai /2013 15:45
Zuma wants African Standby Force operational

08 May 2013 by defenceWeb/SA News


South African President Jacob Zuma has called for the creation of an African Standby Force (ASF) as a rapid deployment instrument that would go to places on the continent where conflicts erupt and violence flares.


He sees the creation of a rapid deployment unit as helping to create a stronger African Union (AU) that would be able to ensure the promotion of peace and stability on the continent.


The President, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force, said the need for an intervention brigade had become more crucial following conflicts in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as continuing instability in the eastern part of the DRC.


In late march, Seleka rebels in the CAR killed 14 South African soldiers as they moved on the nation’s capital of Bangui and subsequently overthrew President Francois Bozize’s regime.


"It is crucial to build a stronger and well-resourced African Union to take forward the promotion of peace, security and the socioeconomic advancement of the continent,” Zuma said. "Part of the capacity needed by the AU is the establishment of the African Standby Force for rapid deployment in crisis areas without delays.”


Zuma’s call follows a report by the AU specialised defence technical committee indicating the rapid deployment capability (RDC) of its standby force was non-existent.


The committee met in Addis Ababa earlier this month to discuss the continental body’s response to the escalation of violence in Mali late last year that erupted into full-scale fighting and saw France deploy troops in an attempt to restore peace.


The report noted: “The Malian crisis highlighted the need to expedite operationalisation of the RDC and, more generally, to accelerate the establishment of the ASF”.


All told the AU defence technical committee is of the opinion the RDC is yet to be operational. Efforts to make the ASF and it RDC reality go back as far as 2002 when the AU Peace and Security Architecture was established. It is designed as a set of institutions and standard to facilitate conflict prevention.


Immediate past US military Africa Command (Africom) commander, General Carter F Ham in March pointed out Mali as an example of why Africa needed to invest in a standby capability.


“If Africa could have deployed a standby force, Mali might be in a different situation today.”


Even more outspoken on the lack of any deployable capability to speedily deal with conflict situations was top South African defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman.


He is on record as saying: “The ‘Standby Force’, comprising five regional brigades, was intended to intervene promptly and quickly to prevent a troubled situation becoming a crisis, or at least to be on the scene quickly enough to hold the line until other forces can be deployed to deal with the situation decisively. It was not intended to ‘stand by’ and watch things unravel”.


Zuma was speaking after the signing of a number of co-operation agreements between Nigeria and South Africa at Tuynhuys in Cape Town following a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan. One of the nine agreements signed covers defence co-operation between the two countries, generally accepted as Africa’s economic powerhouses.


Zuma said that Jonathan was in agreement over the need for better military capacity. South Africa and Nigeria signed nine agreements and memoranda of understanding on Tuesday, paving the way for co-operation in the areas of defence, gas exploration and power generation.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 18:45
SAAF affirmative action report slated

23 April 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb


A report stating the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) affirmative action policy will result in nothing more than higher aircraft crash statistics has been trashed by sections of the wider community of aviation enthusiasts, writers and observers.


“While it is right to acknowledge problems in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), sensationalist and unsourced reports are not at all useful in furthering the debate,” Johannesburg-based aviation observer and writer Darren Olivier said in response to a Strategypage report.


The website said that a decade of corruption, shrinking budgets and political pressure to recruit more black flight and technical personnel were the main reasons the SAAF faced severe problems.


“Most experienced pilots, especially fighter pilots, have left the SAAF simply because they weren’t flying enough,” the website reportedly said, adding that “many pilots who remained are there because they were given their wings under the affirmative action quota system.”


Digging into Strategypage, Olivier found it wasn’t a think-tank, as some local reports quoted, but an informal military news site.


“While some of its articles and posts are well-sourced, many, especially those on foreign militaries, are not. The one referring to the SAAF is based only on some dubious news stories, lacks any direct sourcing, has no data newer than 2009 and has dubious figures,” he said.


As examples he pointed out that the site claimed 50 transport aircraft in SAAF service in 2009.


“The actual figure is around 34, including the Cessna C-208s.


“Similarly the claimed number of Cheetahs doesn’t match any known figure as the SAAF had 38 Cheetah Cs, 16 Cheetah B/D/D2s and 16 Cheetah Es, with the latter type retired in 1992.


“It also repeats the oft erroneous pilot figure, which excludes pilots seconded to other squadrons, other duties, on course or in the Reserves and asserts without any evidence the majority of pilots are black.


“At the same time it also claims the best pilots are being excluded from the fighter line for being white, yet that was based on a single rumoured event and there's no evidence this is ongoing SAAF policy. Nor is a move to other lines permanent in any case, as Major Catherine “Siren” Labuschagne proved by transferring from transports to the fighter line.”


He also takes exception to Strategypage’s reference to the “decrepit state of aging buildings, runways and aircraft”.


“Last I checked both AFB Waterkloof and Makhado had new runways. Waterkloof has new hangars and the aircraft look fine,” Olivier notes.


In terms of questions that should be asked around the current situation in all four arms of service of the SANDF, he maintains the “completely and dangerously inadequate defence budget, the misguided culture of secrecy the SANDF has cultivated, political interference at Central Flying School in Langebaanweg, the complete inadequacy of the Department of Public Works and the need for a Department of Defence/SANDF replacement, the flawed disciplinary processes within the SANDF, the related mishandling of labour disputes and unions and the usually awful SANDF public relations” are top of the list.


Another regular poster on aviation and military aviation sites in South Africa pointed out in response to the Strategypage report that “things are not all well in the SAAF and it isn’t the organisation we served years ago”.


In terms of accidents he notes the transport and helicopter lines have borne the brunt of tragic accidents since the Strategic Defence Package acquisitions were delivered.


This has seen no less than four Agusta A-109 light utility helicopters declared category five with two C-47TPs suffering the same fate.

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22 avril 2013 1 22 /04 /avril /2013 17:45
Benin buys Mechem armoured truck cabs

22 April 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Benin has become the launch customer for Mechem’s new armoured truck cabs, following their recent purchase of ten Casspir NG mine-protected vehicles from the specialist de-mining company.


Denel Group business unit Mechem told defenceWeb that Benin bought an undisclosed number of military trucks with the new cabs fitted in numerous variants.


Mechem, which specialises in de-mining activities and manufacturing mine-protected vehicles, launched the armoured cab project and design in late 2011, “after many requirements for such protection solutions to be fitted on military logistical trucks with the aim to protect crews during vital logistical support tasks in high risk environments,” the company said.


The armoured cabs were unveiled at the September 2012 edition of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition held outside Pretoria.


The cabs can be offered as a single product or as a full turnkey solution on most makes of military and civilian trucks. Mechem is offering a complete multi-purpose truck based on a Powerstar drive train and fitted with the strengthened mine-protected cab. In addition to the Powerstar version, the cabs can also be modified to fit most others makes and models of trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, including 4x4, 6x6, 8x4 and 8x8 models in different variants i.e. Cargo, Fuel, Water, Construction, special applications.


Jack Geldenhuys, Mechem’s Manager for Vehicle Systems, said the armoured protection on the new cabs have been significantly upgraded to STANAG Level 4A, providing protection to crews against landmines, roadside bombs and 7.62x51 mm automatic rifle fire.


Ashley Williams, the General Manager of Denel Mechem, said the new cab systems are primarily aimed at clients in Africa who render humanitarian assistance in post-conflict zones as their trucks are vulnerable to landmines and roadside bombs.


Williams said that Mechem identified a clear need for a strengthened cab that can be fitted on all makes and models of 4x4 or 6x6 supply trucks. The new cab was designed and developed at Denel Mechem and the conversions are done at its facilities in Lyttelton.


Williams said the new truck and cab design can also be an ideal future replacement for the South African Defence Force’s range of Samil trucks that are now reaching the end of their working lives.

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22 avril 2013 1 22 /04 /avril /2013 17:45
ATE set to become part of Paramount Group

22 April 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb


The South African defence industry’s best known secret – the takeover of troubled ATE by the Paramount Group - looks set to become reality before mid-year.


In June last year Midrand-based ATE issued a statement saying it was back in business after the North Gauteng High Court declared a resolution to commence business rescue proceedings had “lapsed and become a nullity”.


At that time ATE said its board of directors was “actively in focused negotiations with a number of highly credible international investors from the aviation industry of significant financial substance, who are acutely interested in making a significant investment in ATE on an urgent basis. Such investment will enable ATE to be restored to full health and make an offer to creditors, suppliers and other stakeholders of ATE which will surpass the offer in the former so called business rescue plan to a significant and material degree”.


This has now advanced to the stage where the ATE website carries a 60 page “Business Rescue Plan” compiled by senior business rescue practitioner Gavin Gainsford of KPMG.


The plan includes only a proposal from the Paramount Group. With no other white knights on the horizon it seems just about a done deal for Ivor Ichikowitz’ group to cement its position as the largest privately owned defence industry company in South Africa.


Details of exactly how and what the merger/take-over will mean in terms of products, support, research and technology will only be announced once the business rescue plan has been signed off by both parties.


For Paramount it will be the addition of a specialist aeronautical engineering capability to its already impressive line-up of aerospace, land and maritime-based defence and security products. The ATE unmanned aircraft systems business unit will come into the Paramount stable at a time when these aerial platforms are making their presence felt more and more in military and other security applications such as anti-poaching and maritime patrolling.


For the SA Air Force the impending coalition between ATE and Paramount means it will still have a local supplier of the Hawk navigation and weapon system. ATE developed the system which has been certified by both BAE Systems and Armscor.


Multi-mission integration kits for helicopters are another speciality ATE brings to the Paramount table as are the manufacture of composite rotor blades.


Paramount prides itself on providing integrated turnkey solutions to global defence, peacekeeping and internal security forces. This has seen it develop a range of security vehicles today in service in many countries, with the Brazilian police becoming the newest user.


It is also a partner in the development of AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft) with Centurion-based Aerosud. The high-wing, single-engined aircraft is at an advanced stage and work is underway on a full scale prototype following 80 successful flights of a quarter size scale model. September has been set down as a potential date for the first prototype flight.

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18 avril 2013 4 18 /04 /avril /2013 16:09
SANDF will be part of UN DRC intervention brigade

18 April 2013 by defenceWeb

South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma, has confirmed that South Africa will be part of the recently announced UN intervention brigade that will undertake offensive operations in the DRC.

According to an official Presidency statement, he has authorised until the end of April next year: “The employment of 1 267 SANDF personnel in the DRC for service in fulfilment of international obligations of South Africa towards the United Nations. The members were employed in the DRC for the period April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, to participate in the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC and will continue in this mission”.

The same statement also informed the country another 11 SANDF members would be based in the DRC until April 2014 to assist with capacity building of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) with a further 67 South African soldiers to be deployed as trainers for the FARDC.

Zuma also approved the deployment of 850 SANDF members to Darfur as part of the hybrid AU/UN operation in that country. This deployment is also effective until the end of April next year.

Zuma did not elaborate on whether the around 1 100 SANDF troops and support personnel currently in the DRC at Goma as part of MONUSCO (the UN operation in the Congo) would all join the intervention brigade but the numbers indicate there will be extra South Africans going to the central African country, probably at month-end.

South Africans will serve alongside soldiers from Malawi and Tanzania in the intervention brigade. No commander has yet been announced for the 3 069-strong brigade by the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission.

Each country will send an infantry battalion of 850 soldiers, amounting to 2 550 men. The remaining troops will come from an artillery company, a special forces company and a reconnaissance company. The brigade will operate under the command of a Tanzanian general, according to MONUSCO.

The intervention brigade, with a mandate to conduct “targeted offensive operations” against eastern DRC rebels, was approved by the UN Security Council on March 28. The landmark brigade has been given a mandate to conduct offensive operations, a first for UN peacekeepers.

defenceWeb earlier this week requested details of the brigade’s rules of engagement (ROE) but had not received any feedback from the Stabilisation Mission spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai at the time of publication.

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