Denel Land Systems profits triple over last financial year

Written by defenceWeb

Monday, 27 August 2012

Earnings before interest and taxes for defence company Denel Land Systems increased from R9 million to R23 million for the 2012 financial year. The company was recently boosted by a record 340 million euro (R3.5 billion) contract with Malaysia to supply a range of turret and integrated weapon systems for its 8 x 8 armoured infantry fighting vehicles.

Denel Land Systems’ turnover for the 2012 financial year amounted to R546 million, down slightly from R554 million the year before. Export turnover increased dramatically, from R73 million to R262 million, according to Denel’s Annual Report 2012.

Although Denel Land Systems’ (DLS’s) financial performance was good over the last financial year, the company’s confirmed order book dropped by a third for the 2012 financial year, reaching R402 million, down from R680 million.

On May 17, 2011, Denel received ‘the largest landward system export contract in SA’s history’, when it received the Malaysian contract. DLS will be responsible for supplying 69 x two man turrets fitted with the South African GI30 30mm main gun; 54 x missile turrets equipped with the GI30 30mm gun and Denel Dynamics Ingwe anti-tank missile system; and 54 x remote control weapons systems. The turrets will be exported to Malaysia over a seven year period – with the first consignment ready for delivery this coming January. The turrets and weapon systems will be integrated on the Malaysian Army’s new 8 x 8 vehicles which are based on the Pars armoured vehicle platforms from the Turkish company, FNSS.

Denel said the future outlook in terms of potential prospects being pursued will double DLS’s turnover within the next three years – for instance, DLS successfully demonstrated a new weapon management system for artillery to international clients. The company also highlighted the successful business turnaround and the steady growth over the past five years of DLS. The company’s workforce has a head count of 420, an increase of 29 compared to the previous year.

Denel Land Systems designs, develops, integrates, supplies and supports landward based high-mobility, high-firepower product systems, combat turrets, rapid-fire small and medium calibre weapons, new generation combat vehicle systems, as well as artillery systems. DLS’s combat proven systems are in service in several countries.

Arguably its biggest project at the moment is producing the ‘Badger’ family of new generation infantry combat vehicles (ICV), under project ‘Hoefyster’. The development of variants continues apace, with a significant milestone of the product baseline for the ‘section variant’ achieved on 10 September 2010. This simultaneously kick-started a countdown process towards the much anticipated production order, with another four variants following closely behind the lead prototype vehicle, Denel said.

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 8 x 8 armoured modular vehicle platforms. The aim of project Hoefyster is to replace the South African Army’s ageing fleet of Ratel infantry combat vehicles in a phased approach, whilst also creating specific export potential.

Another notable achievement over the last financial year for DLS came when it obtained a vehicle capability after taking a majority stake in LMT Holdings (Pty) Ltd. This will enable DLS to produce the Badger, which is a local version of the Finnish Patria combat vehicle.

Denel recently announced that, as part of restructuring designed to save money and increase efficiencies, Denel Land Systems and Mechem will be integrated into a single entity. At the group’s headquarters in Irene, Denel Dynamics will incorporate the division responsible for the design and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) as well as Denel Integrated Systems Solutions.

Source: defenceweb.co.za

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Denel Dynamics Missiles earnings up for 2012

Written by defenceWeb

Thursday, 02 August 2012

Denel Dynamics Missiles has posted improved earnings for the 2012 financial year, with earnings before interest and taxes of R11 million, up from R5 million the previous year.

Denel’s Annual Report 2012 revealed that the unit recorded a turnover of R619 million for 2012 (down from R729 million the previous year) and export turnover of R194 million (up slightly from R192 million the previous year). Denel noted that, historically, Denel Dynamics Missiles has posted financial losses due to onerous contracts, amongst other factors. Although it has recorded marginal profits for the second successive year, its order cover and the closure of key contracts remain challenges.

The company’s confirmed order book is down by R117 million, at R598 million for the 2012 financial year ending March. Denel said one of the unit’s highlights was the posting of a nominal profit, with a continued year-on-year improvement in overall business performance in accordance with the “Voyage to Excellence” programme launched in 2007.

Some of the unit’s highlights include the conclusion of Umkhonto missile deliveries to a European country, which were completed in 2011/2012.

Denel Dynamics Missiles said the development of the A-Darter missile is on track for production to commence in 2014. Final missile qualification and performance validation is under way to achieve critical technical milestones in 2012/13 and 2013/14. As part of this evaluation the first two successful guided missile firings from a Gripen aircraft were successfully completed during February 2012. A-Darter is being developed jointly by South Africa and Brazil. “The success of this joint development is likely to lead to further alliances with other developing nations. There are discussions about follow-on collaborative projects and marketing strategies,” Denel said.

Denel Dynamics CEO, Jan Wessels earlier this year said that, “I believe the DoD will contribute to the funding of a follow-up development missile programme, but its exact nature and funding model are still under discussion.”

In May 2011, Denel Dynamics Missiles concluded a contract for the sale of the Umbani precision guided bomb kit to an export customer. “This contract is a prime example of how the substantial investment in intellectual property over a number of years has been afforded an opportunity to yield a return for SA,” Denel said.

Other notable achievements included the integration and flight-testing of the Ingwe missile on the Eurocopter EC635 helicopter and the first flight test with an alternative multipurpose warhead. In addition, Denel Dynamics Missiles introduced the fire-and-forget configuration of its Raptor stand-off weapon. The full autonomous flight was a first for the Raptor weapon system.

Denel Dynamics Missiles employs 732 people. Its current range of products and systems includes the A-Darter, the Umkhonto-IR air defence missile, the Ingwe and Mokopa anti-armour missiles, precision-guided munitions and the Raptor II stand-off weapon.

Source: defenceweb.co.za

L’Algérie commande deux frégates à TKMS

05/04/2012
Ce sont bien des frégates allemandes que l’Algérie a décidé de commander pour renouveler sa marine. Le 26 mars, le ministère algérien de la Défense et le groupe TKMS ont, selon des journaux algériens, signé un contrat portant sur la réalisation de deux frégates du type Meko A200N. Elles sont dérivées des quatre Valour (Meko A200) mises en service par la marine sud-africaine en 2006 et 2007. Pour mémoire, ces bâtiments mesurent 121 mètres de long et affiche un déplacement de 3590 tonnes en charge.
Côté armement, les frégates algériennes doivent être dotées de huit RBS-15 Mk3. Ce missile antinavire, développé et commercialisé par le Suédois Saab Bofors Dynamics et l’Allemand Diehl BGT Defence, affiche une portée de 200 kilomètres. Embarquant une charge militaire de 200 kilos, il dispose d’un autodirecteur infrarouge, ce qui le rend autonome par rapport au porteur après le tir, ainsi que d’un GPS, lui conférant une capacité de frappe contre des cibles côtières. Pour mémoire, le RBS-15 Mk3 a été adopté par la marine suédoise, ainsi que la flotte allemande pour ses nouvelles corvettes du type 130.
Comme les Valour, les Meko A200N seraient également dotées d’un système surface-air Umkhonto (32 missiles à lancement vertical), développé par la firme sud-africaine Denel Dynamics. L’artillerie comprendrait une tourelle de 76mm, deux canon de 35mm et des affûts de petit calibre. S’y ajouteraient des torpilles MU90 développées par DCNS, Thales et WASS.
En dehors des deux frégates, qui pourraient ultérieurement avoir deux sisterships, l’Algérie a également passé commande de 6 hélicoptères Super Lynx (AugustaWestland) et, dit-on, de 82 torpilles MU90. Celles-ci peuvent être mises en oeuvre depuis un bâtiment de surface ou un aéronef. En plus, les Super Lynx algériens pourront emporter le missile antinavire sud-africain Mokopa, produit par Denel.
L’ensemble de ces contrats atteindrait plus de 2.17 milliards d’euros. La commande serait, toutefois, encore soumise au feu vert des autorités allemandes, qui ont récemment autorisé la construction d’un sixième sous-marin du type Dolphin pour Israël et la vente de 200 chars Leopard A7 à l’Arabie saoudite.
Source: Mer et Marine

South Africa’s restored Cheetah fighters make Ecuador debut

By Stephen Trimble

25/01/2012

Ecuador has received 12 ex-South African Air Force Cheetah C/D fighters, ordered in late 2010, from Denel Aviation.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa Delgado announced on 21 January that the entire batch of 12 fighters has arrived from South Africa.

The 10 C-model and two D-model Cheetahs had been in storage since their retirement from service in South Africa four years ago. Ecuadorian officials visited South Africa in April 2009 to start negotiations, and signed a $78 million contract in December 2010. The deal also includes five years of maintenance support.

The Cheetah was developed in the 1980s during South Africa’s apartheid regime. Israeli and South African engineers modified Dassault Mirage IIIs with a modern suite of avionics, radar, and electronic warfare systems, creating a configuration similar to Israel’s Kfir.

The Cheetahs are expected to replace Ecuador’s fleet of 12 ageing Mirage F1s.

Ecuador bought the Cheetah fleet shortly after a border crisis with the Colombian air force, which was accused of violating Ecuadorian airspace to attack suspected guerrilla camps.

Since 2008, the Ecuadorian air force has also acquired or ordered Dhruv advanced light helicopters from India’s Hindustan Aeronautics, Xian MA60 transports from China, unmanned air vehicles from Israel, and Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack fighters from Brazil, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Source: Flight International

BAE Systems, Denel & Jorsin keeps Ratels at the ready

Five work orders for the maintenance and repair of the veteran BAE Systems Ratel Mk3 infantry combat vehicle product system takes the known amount spent on keeping the operational with the South African Army to over R96 613 428.41 since 2007.

The contracts include work worth R7 891 905.91 to Jorsin the Group CC for general maintenance and repair and R3 001 285.50 to Denel Land Systems for the supply of 20mm automatic gun and 90mm turret items as well as four contracts to BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of transmissions (R3 625 836.00), the maintenance and repair of dropdown gearboxes (R380 411.10), the supply of various A and E class spares (R6 270 741.20) and the maintenance and repair Ratel MK3 A-class spares and components (R9 043 214,00).

The Ratel has now been in service for 34 years. It is an indigenous design developed in the early 1970s to replace the Saracen armoured personnel carrier. The prototype was delivered in 1974 and the first production vehicle in 1976. The Mk2 entered production in 1979 and the Mk3 in 1988. The Mk3 fleet was upgraded in 2001 when about 70 modifications were made.

Writing in the Engineering News in October 2008, Keith Campbell described the development of the Ratel as follows: “This programme started in the early 1970s, when the South African Army evaluated four AFVs – the Unimog UR-416 from Germany, the French Panhard M3, the Brazilian Engesa Urutu, and a vehicle from local company Springfield Bussing, confusingly named Buffel” [confusingly, as this name was already being used for a mine-protected troop carrier].

Campbell added the three foreign designs were all armoured personnel carriers – “basically, armoured ‘battle taxis’, armed only with a machine gun, which carried troops into battle, at which point they had to disembark to fight”. He noted the SA Army decided to go with a new concept instead. Variously called the armoured infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) or infantry combat vehicle (ICV), this was pioneered by the Soviet Army in the form of the BMP-1 and the West German Army in the shape of the Marder.

“An AIFV carries a powerful gun (20 mm or 30 mm) as well as a squad of troops, who have their own vision ports and firing ports, so that they can fight from within the vehicle,” Campbell wrote. “So, around 1975/1976, the South African Army decided to adopt an AIFV based on the Springfield Bussing vehicle. This became the Ratel (honey badger, in English), which was mass-produced by Sandock Austral. A monocoque design, the Ratel hulls were made in Sandock Austral’s Durban dockyard and taken by rail to Boksburg for fitting out. The turrets were based on those on the Eland armoured cars – the 20-mm gun turret of the standard Ratel IFV, for example, was a redesigned Eland 90 turret.

A whole family of Ratels was developed – command vehicles, fire support vehicles (with 90mm gun turrets taken from Eland), mortar vehicles (with 60mm breech-loading mortar turrets taken from Eland 60s), and, later, tank destroyers armed with Denel Dynamics ZT3 Ingwe antitank missiles, and mortar carriers with 81mm muzzle-loading mortars carried in what had been the troop compartment.

The Ratel is scheduled for partial replacement by the Badger, some 264 of which are slated for production under Project Hoefyster.

Source: defenceweb.co.za

Denel unit under margin pressure

25 mai, 2011

Paul Vecchiatto

While the loss-making Denel Saab Aerostructures will show an improvement in this financial year, funding of the company remains a critical issue as margins remain under severe pressure, according to Tshediso Matona, the director-general of the Department of Public Services.

Delivering a briefing to the Parliamentary oversight committee on public service on Tuesday, Matona said that talks were still in progress with privately owned aerospace company Aerosud to replace Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab, which sold its 20% stake in April.

Aeorsud made an unsolicited offer in December, but discussions around the possible stake and its size were still ongoing.

A key Aerosud shareholder is private arms manufacturer Paramount Group, whose executive chairman is well-known businessman and African National Congress (ANC) supporter Ivor Ichikowitz.

Matona told the committee that Denel Saab Aerostructures remained a key strategic challenge to state-owned arms manufacturer Denel.

Denel Saab Aerostructures is key to the Airbus Military A400M large military transport aircraft programme. Wing fuselage sections are manufactured by Denel Saab Aerostructures for the A400M and these are transported to Spain for final assembly.

Airbus Military has 174 confirmed orders for the military transport aircraft, with France ordering 50, the UK 22, Spain 22, Germany 53, Turkey 10, Malaysia four and Luxemburg one. The mature production rate should be about 2.5 aircraft per month, beginning next year when the first aircraft are due to be delivered to the French Air Force.

SA signed a deal originally valued at 18 billion rand to participate in the production and to buy a minimum of eight aircraft. However, two years ago Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said SA would pull out of purchasing the aircraft as the total programme cost had accelerated to 47 billion rand – a figure disputed by Airbus Military.

Despite the troubled A400M program, Denel Saab Aerostructures continued to prepare itself to manufacture portions of the aircraft allocated to it.

Figures presented by Matona were that Denel Saab Aerostructures’s earnings before income tax was a loss of 259 million rand for the year ending in February. This is on top of a loss of 283 million rand for the year ended March 2010 and 444 million rand for the 2009 financial year.

He said that Denel Saab Aerostructures had begun a restructuring process that included reducing its labour costs, improvement in financial management and governance, reducing rental costs, implementing shared services with Denel Aviation and outsourcing non-core activities.

As part of the restricting of the company, headcount would be reduced from just less than 400 people to about 258 in 2015.

However, Matona said the company was strategic to SA and that its economic impact was conservatively estimated to be about 3,000 jobs. It produced R760 million in consumer revenue and paid about 180 million rand in taxes.

Matona asserted that Denel Saab Aerostructures was operating in a high-tech and advanced manufacturing sector and fell within the ambit of the Industrial Policy Action Plan II, which promoted the country’s advanced long-term manufacturing capabilities.

He said Denel Saab Aerostructures was targeting other aircraft manufactures such as Hondajet, Gulfstream and Lockheed Martin.

Source: businesslive.co.za

Agustas to be weaponised

Written by Leon Engelbrecht

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The South African Air Force has awarded Unionlet Ltd a R398 218,34 contract to procure, on its behalf kits to convert four Fabrique National 7.62m MAG machine guns from the Model MAG 58 infantry type to Model MAG 58m mounting type for mounting on the Agusta A109 light utility helicopter.

Unionlet is a comparatively small arms broker based in west London and is southern African gent for a number of defence manufacturers. Britain’s Guardian newspaper says Unionlet is co-owned by managing director Mark Ranger and his father. Ranger was previously with the UK Defence Export Services Organisation. South Africa has purchased assorted FN and Heckler & Koch small arms and spares via Unionlet since at least 2006.

South Africa bought 30 AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopters for R2.451 billion under Project Flange as part of the 1999 strategic defence package (SDP). They are currently unarmed. The kits will allow a crewman to put down suppressive fire when landing or recovering troops. Similar kits are fitted to the Denel Oryx medium utility helicopter and the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 Mk64 maritime helicopters from time to time.

Source: defenceWeb

Denel looks to Africa for growth

Written by defenceWeb

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Denel says it is ready to explore growth opportunities in Africa and expand its range of products and services on the continent. The company hosted a number of defence attaches from several African countries in an effort to showcase the company’s products.

South Africa’s largest defence group hosted the attaches at its PMP (Pretoria Metal Pressings) facilities in Pretoria yesterday. According to Talib Sadik, Denel CEO, the purpose of the meeting was to showcase South Africa’s defence products as designed and manufactured by Denel. « This is very important for African defence forces to know that the capacity exists on our continent to maintain their fleets to the highest levels of safety and quality, » he said.

Sadik added that the company has equipment that is « thoroughly tested for the African market and highly suitable for the geographic and climatic conditions on the continent. » Such equipment ranges from assault rifles to heavy artillery.

According to Brigadier General Emmanuel Miburo of Burundi, Denel has established a good reputation for the quality of its products and its participation in peacekeeping operations. Denel Mechem, for instance, has undertaken landmine clearing operations in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan.

« We are impressed with the range of weapon systems manufactured by Denel – ranging from the Rooivalk combat support helicopter, missiles and guided weapon systems to world class small and medium calibre ammunition, » Miburo said.

Denel offers a wide range of products and services, such as aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and mine clearing.

Denel makes a wide range of civil (hunting) and military ammunition, from 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm rifle calibre to 105 and 155 mm artillery shells and 60 mm and 81 mm mortar rounds. The company also manufactures air-to-air, ground-to-air and air-to-ground missiles like the Umkhonto air defence missile, Mokopa anti-tank missile and A-Darter air-to-air missile.

Other products include the NTW20 anti-material rifle, G5 and G6 artillery, turrets for armoured vehicles and Seeker series of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Denel has sold products and services to 32 African countries. Most of it is logistical. For instance, Denel has sold landmine removal, battle area clearance and contraband detection services in countries such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan. Sadik said Denel would continue focusing on maintenance, repair and overhaul work.

Over the past three years Denel has invested R447m in local plants and is concentrating on « new products » such as mortar, artillery and naval ammunition, a new minefield clearing system and 40 mm ammunition.

Denel has been actively pursuing African sales, and last year was in the process of finalising a deal with Libya to sell R6.289 billion worth of military hardware to the country, including G6-52 artillery systems, missiles, grenade launchers and anti-material rifles.

The Mail & Guardian obtained an internal Denel memo outlining a successful arms sales trip to Libya last year. « The MOU is initiated and will be signed in due course. The trip received the blessing from both the presidencies. The Brother Leader also stressed the importance of having Africans trading within the continent, » the memo reads. « The president of Libya and his South African counterpart will sign within the coming year.”

Denel did not sell any weapons to Libya last year and the current situation seems to have ruled out sales for the near future. The arms embargo and political crisis have scuppered huge defence deals with other countries, such as France and Italy. Russia estimated it lost out on US$4 billion worth of military sales to Libya following the crisis there.

Denel Aviation, part of the State-owned Denel Group, is also pursuing markets beyond South Africa’s borders. Denel Aviation CEO Mike Kgobe said last year that Denel Aviation was focusing on North Africa in particular in an effort to overcome the declining South African Air Force (SAAF) budget. In the past, the Air Force was the biggest customer for the company and through work with the SAAF, the company has built up infrastructure to compete with global players.

Five years ago the loss-making Denel instituted a radical reorganisation plan, and managed to cut its losses from R533 million in 2009, to R246 million last year. In 2005, the industrial group posted a R1.6-billion loss. Denel hopes to return to profitability in the financial year beginning April 1, 2012. This target was set out in the company’s corporate plan in 2009. While most of Denel’s companies do well, Denel Saab Aerostructures (DSA) brought the company into the red, and will be sold off.

At its yearly results meeting last year, Denel said it had R15.8 billion worth of orders.

Source: defenceWeb

Airbus Military again assures on SA A400M work – but just

Written by Leon Engelbrecht

Thursday, 19 May 2011 14:28

Airbus Military officials have again sought to assure South Africa about the security of its A400M work packages. Programme head Cedric Gautier says there are “no plans to remove any packages on our own initiative” at present.

He was speaking Tuesday at an Airbus Military trade media briefing (TMB) – attended by defenceWeb – in Sevilla, Spain, where the large airlifter is built. Airbus Military CEO Domingo Ureña made a similar pledge at the TMB last year, just months after some work was diverted away from the state arsenal, Denel. But he modified that yesterday, noting that the packages were tied to the South African Air Force’s 2004 purchase of eight of the airlifters.

South Africa ordered eight of the aircraft for €837 million (then about R9.6 billion) in December 2004. Delays in the programme and alleged cost overruns that became known during the 2009 recession caused the South African government to cancel its order in November 2009 to popular acclaim. The cost claims, on which Cabinet may have made its decision has proven exaggerated: now sacked Armscor CE Sipho Thomo claimed the cost to South Africa had escalated from R17 billion to R47 billion, but this was repudiated by defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu as well as Airbus, the latter insisting that the €837 million figure remained accurate.

The buy followed South African interest in becoming a risk-sharing partner in the programme. Then-transport minister Jeff Radebe and public enterprises minister Alec Erwin spoke glowingly of the project’s prospects at the September 2004 edition of the Africa Aerospace & Defence exhibition, announcing the Cabinet decision’s to purchase eight with an option of six more. The order was duly signed in December 2004 and the workshare agreement – by then-defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota – in April the next year. Denel Saab Aerostructures (DSA) and Aerosud duly became risk-sharing partners in the programme while Armscor, Saab SA and Omnipless (now Cobham) were appointed contractors.

The US news service, Bloomberg, quoted French newspaper Le Tribune as valuing the SA workshare at €400 million (R4.4 billion), while in May 2007, Engineering News reported that “Airbus Military has calculated that the A400M programme will add R859-million to South Africa’s gross domestic product each year for the next 15 years or €750-million over 20 years. Former DSA CE Lana Kinley said her company spent some R400 million in a facility upgrade to prepare for the production of its workshare. The National Treasury in October 2009 announced that it would make R192 million available to DSA year to help pay for this tooling, and a further R181.3 million in October last year. Ureña last year added that his company had invested more than €300 million in the SA aviation industry to support the programme.

DSA is exclusively responsible for the production of so-called top shells for the centre fuselage section of the A400M, which it had also designed and developed. Engineering News’ Keith Campbell has picturesquely called these as being equivalent to roof panels. DSA says this is one of the largest composite-metallic hybrid structures on the aircraft. “This part’s main function is to provide aerodynamic efficiency over the wind box, as well as protecting critical aircraft systems.” The company is contracted to produce two top shells for each aircraft – one in front and one behind the wing box that joins the wing to the fuselage. In addition, it is making very large wing-to-fuselage fairings, manufactured mainly from composite materials but including aluminium parts.

Each fairing is 15m long, 7m wide, and nearly 3m high.

The Department of Public Enterprises in October 2009 said the A400M contract was awarded to DSA as part of a business exchange plan, set up with Airbus when the SA government signed “a deal to purchase the military aircraft as part of the South African Air Force’s renewal programme”. The department in a joint statement with the DSA noted the design of the A400M structure “has raised South Africa’s engineering skill base.” They added the “DSA has also developed a composite facility to global standards – with world class accreditation which will allow South Africa to position itself in advanced manufacturing and in obtaining further contracts in the aerostructures industry.”

Dr Ian Phillips, the late Special Advisor to Radebe in a 2004 press statement noted that this was the fulcrum of SA’s participation in the programme. Phillips – then a Denel board member – avered that the government, through the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Public Enterprises and Defence, had been since « at least 2000 » developing a strategy for the long-term development of South Africa’s high technology aerospace sector.

In addition to the wing-to-fuselage fairings and top shelves, DSA was also contributing the ribs and spars for the tail fin as well as centre wing box structural components. It is the tail fin packages that were taken from DSA last year. The delays in the A400M programme has cost DSA and its staff dearly. The company posted a loss of R452.6 million for the year to March 2009, and some R328 million for the year to March 2010, while close to 500 staff have been laid off in three rounds of retrenchment.

Following the November 5 decision to cancel the A400M purchase, Kinley and Sadik were adamant this would not immediately affect the company. “The impact of the … cancellation … will have little impact in the immediate future on DSA as the aircraft is still in development phase.,” Kinley told defenceWeb. “DSA is the design authority for two parts – the Wing-to-Fuselage Fairing and the Top Shells – and both have reached a mature stage of development. If Airbus cancelled this contract, the cost of redesign, production readiness and certification for an alternate supplier would be significant,” she said. But in February 2010 Denel CE Talib Sadik admitted to Parliament that Airbus would be within its rights to cancel DSA’s workshare. There was at the time no indication it would do so.

Aerosud has to date not commented on the impact of the decision on its workshare that includes manufacturing nose fuselage linings, cargo hold and cockpit linings as well as the cockpit rigid bulkhead, the wing tips, and the nose fuselage galleys. Defence analyst Helmoed-Römer Heitman said in November 2009 he doubted that EADS or Airbus Military would pull any work from Aerosud, “which is a long-standing supplier to Airbus”. He said they “would not want to spoil a perfectly good relationship, and it would make no sense at all to do so. I also doubt that EADS/Airbus Military would pull the design work from DSA at this point in the project,” he said. That would only serve to incur further delay, cost and risk, which would make no sense in a project that is already over-budget and over-schedule.”

In addition to DSA and Aerosud, Armscor providing engineering services to the project, Cobham, in Cape Town, is providing satellite communications antennas and Saab SA is providing health and usage management systems (lifetime monitoring systems) for the aircraft. « When suppliers fulfill requirements, it is very difficult to remove their workload and transfer the work. It can’t be done. I don’t believe this is the time to do it. That is why the work packages will continue for a considerable time, » Ureña said at TMB 2010. However, he pointed out, new work packages that would have gone to the South African companies will be subject to tenders, the Engineering News reported at the time. « The best bids will win. That is the situation. »

Speaking to South African journalists at this year’s TMB in Madrid yesterday, he said negotiations were still underway with the South African government. Should these fail, the packages could be stripped from the South African companies and allocated elsewhere. He added the talks could not last indefinitely but when asked stressed there was no deadline yet. Ureña also emphasised that neither he nor Airbus Military had anything against either Aerosud or DSA, with whom they had longstanding supplier agreements and cordial relations, but strongly hinted that without an A400M buy South African firms could not hope to benefit from the programme as every supplier’s workshare was conditional and proportional to their government’s purchase.

Urena said he had noted comments by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu in February as well as last month that the talks, from the SA point of view, were aimed at recovering the R2.9 billion paid to Airbus Military.

Source: defenceWeb

Only money required to cure Rooivalk Mokopa deficit

Written by Leon Engelbrecht

Monday, 16 May 2011

A lack of funds in the acquisition budget is all that stands between the South African Air Force’s small fleet of Denel CSH2A Rooivalk combat support helicopters and Denel Dynamics’ potentially potent Mokopa precision attack missile. The Mokopa was designed as the main counter-armour weapon for the rotorcraft and the two systems were both developed as part of Project Impose.

Chief of the Air Force Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano last week noted that the weapon was in January qualified off a standard Rooivalk Mark1 Block F helicopter, of which five are now in service with 16 Squadron at Bloemfontein. This means the entire fleet, which will number 11 when the latest round of upgrades are complete, can already fire the laser-guided missile with its 10km-range. Gagiano did add that other than money, the Air Force would still have to develop operational procedures and tactics for the weapon as well as conduct training.

The Ministry of Defence in June 2007 said in answer to a Parliamentary question that the SA National Defence Force had by then spent R120 million (in 2007 Rand) on the Mokopa development programme, with a further R4.6 million due to be spent in financial year 2007/8. “Denel is expected to spend a further R98.25 million (in 2007 currency) to complete the development of the missile. All figures exclude VAT and other statutory costs,” the MoD said in answer to a question asked by then Democratic Alliance deputy defence spokesman Hendrik Schmidt. The answer added that an amount of R70 million (2007 Rand) had “been reserved for the acquisition of operational Mokopa missiles once the development is complete.”

This was, however, at odds with a report in the Business Day newspaper a month before that quoted Denel as deciding that the Rooivalk was not commercially viable and that it would not spend any new money on the helicopters. “Armscor and the defence department will now have to decide whether to subsidise the maintenance of Denel’s Rooivalk capability so that it can continue servicing the 12 [sic] helicopters bought by the South African Air Force over their 25-year lifespan,” the paper said. “The other option would be for the air force to mothball the helicopters and for the costs to be written off entirely.”

Then-Public Enterprises Alec Erwin said in an interview that the departments of defence and public enterprises would have to decide the fate of the Rooivalk. The Denel 2008 Annual Report noted the result of that process: “The SANDF participates in peace support operations thus necessitating armed helicopter support. The Rooivalk helicopter is considered to be a viable option to satisfy this need, and should be completed to meet the revised functional specifications. In considering this need for an armed helicopter capability, Cabinet has decided that Rooivalk should be certified to meet the revised functionality within the existing allocated financial resources.” With that, work to fit the Mokopa and air-to-air missiles to Rooivalk apparently ended.

According to the wikipedia development of the Mokopa began in November 1996, reportedly due to the then-United States arms embargo against South Africa that made the acquisition of the AGM-114 Hellfire impossible. Whether the prospect was ever realistic, actually contemplated or likely is unclear, but the helicopter was initially to be equipped with the tube-launched laser-guided Denel Dynamics ZT3 Ingwe, with a 5km range. Drawings from the 1980s show the rotorcraft carrying up to four bulky launch boxes, each for four of the missiles. Mokopa dispensed with these.

The first air-launched tests of the Mokopa, which has a passing resemblance to Hellfire, from a Rooivalk helicopter took place in 1999, with the first guided tests following in 2000, the online encyclopedia adds. The missile is considered to be very accurate, with an accuracy believed to match that of the company’s other anti-tank missile, the Ingwe, at around 300 mm CEP (circular error probable) at maximum range.

Wessels last year told defenceWeb that although the weapon was developed as a tank killer, “the bulk of the interest in the Mokopa has shifted to non-tank targets.” The Dynamics CE said at the time the Mokopa should be particularly effective with a multi-purpose warhead in support of offshore patrol vessels, such as those contemplated for the SA Navy’s Project Biro. The weapon is also suitable as a secondary PGM for larger vessels,such as frigates. “You cannot fire an Exocet at a small boat, it is overkill,” he says. “There are a number of tenders out for new frigates where the shipyard offer our Umkhonto air defence missile plus the [AgustaWestland] Lynx with the Mokopa. That is very important.”

On the other hand, he saw only limited short-term opportunity for Mokopa with the land services. “Most armies won’t use it optimally, he says. Land-to-land targeting at 5.5km, as with Ingwe, is already a very long range for target acquisition. You cant’s see much further in the dust and glare of the battlefield. With Mokopa you go over-the-horison and then your communications and command-and-control has to be very advanced. Many armies are not yet confident enough to use such a weapon. The Ingwe is still very much on the sweet spot for most applications,” he said.

Wessels added in the May 2010 interview that his company and its subcontractor, Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, were working on a new series of warheads. This included a multi-purpose warhead with some penetration capability but also blast. The company has also done “some studies” on thermobaric warheads. “We know what the technology can offer,” Wessels said.

Speaking at the SAAF’s Air Capability Demonstration at Roodewal in Limpopo on Thursday Gagiano said that although the five Block 1F aircraft delivered to date was now fully operational it was not envisaged that the system would be available for deployment outside the country this calendar year. “The need for deployments come from the UN, but at this stage it is not ready for deployment yet, with training of crews still taking place,” he said, adding the United Nations had a need for more Oryx.

Project Impose dates back 27 years to March 1984. The cost of the programme remains elusive but is said to have been over R8 billion by 2006. It is known a further R234.3 million has been spent since February 2007. Kgobe in April this year said South Africa is one of only nine countries in the world to have developed and engineered its own combat support helicopter.

Source: defenceWeb