SA Army horse shod by December?

Indications are industry will receive a R7.3 billion production order for the SA Army’s Project Hoefyster by year end.
Hoefyster is a R8.3 billion programme to replace the BAE Systems Land Systems SA Ratel infantry combat vehicle (ICV) that has been in service for some 35 years with a South Africanised version of the Finish Patria AMV, to be known as the Badger.
 
Denel`s 2008 annual report noted on page 63 that Denel Land Systems had been "contracted for the development and production of the Hoefyster to the value of R8.3 billion".
 
At the time of the document`s compilation, in the middle o last year, "only the order for the development portion of the contract with a value of R1 billion has been placed with the group and the balance of the contract relating to the production is still outstanding subject to the successful conclusion of the development order."
 
An official familiar with the programme says the production order for the vehicles could be placed "by November" this year if the Army has the funds and if certain technical milestones were achieved.
 
The SA Army`s mechanised infantry currently comprises two regular battalions (1 SA Infantry, Bloemfontein and 8 SAI at Upington) and six Reserve Force units:     
·         1st Bn, Regt de la Rey, Potchefstroom
·         1st Bn, Regt Northern Transvaal, Pretoria
·         Cape Town Highlanders, Cape Town
·         Durban Light Infantry, Durban
·         Regt Westelike Provincie, Cape Town 
·         Witwatersrand Rifles, Johannesburg
 
Each battalion has a requirement for 88 Badgers, making for a total of 704 vehicles. That is, however, not the full requirement as the artillery and armour also need Badgers for elements assigned to mechanised formations.
 
At present only 264 vehicles are on order, or sufficient for three battalions, with none earmarked for the Armoured Corps or the artillery.
 
Indications are that the production order may be trimmed to provide for just two battalions – or 176 vehicles.
      
The official hopes the full requirement will be met over time as finance becomes available.
 
There is also talk that should the SA Artillery decide to mount the 105mm advanced multirole light artillery gun being developed under Project Musuku on a vehicle as a self propelled gun, the Badger will be selected as hull in order to promote the "family-of-vehicles" concept.
 
The insider adds that the Badger could also form the basis for a Rooikat armoured car replacement in due course.
 
Should both come to pass and additional vehicles be acquired to replace the Armour Corps` ZT3 tank destroyers as well as the SA Artillery`s forward observation vehicles and both corps` command vehicles, the order could swell to 1000 vehicles.  
 
Last November Denel Land Systems project manager Reenen Teubes told defenceWeb the Army had accepted the first two prototype vehicles.
 
He added that in addition to the prototype hulls the first turrets had also been completed and the 30mm cannon and 60mm breech-loading mortar successfully fired.
         
Denel was awarded the Hoefyster contract in May last year after a protracted tendering process. Deliveries are scheduled from 2012.
 
Five versions are contemplated:
·         Command
·         Mortar (turreted 60mm breech loading long-range mortar)
·         Missile (turreted Denel ZT3 Ingwe)
·         Section (turreted 30mm cannon)
·         Fire Support (turreted 30mm cannon, but with more ammunition than the section vehicle)