The South African Army Air Defence Artillery has awarded the CSIR’s DPSS unit a R24.82 million contract for decision support for a project study on the integration, command, control and sensor needs for Ground Based Air Defence Systems (GBADS).
The work, awarded earlier this month, likely relates to Project Fellowship “which addresses the integration, command, control and sensor needs for the Ground Based Air Defence.” The known value of such work now stands at R39 792 594.99 since early 2009.
Denel, the state arms arsenal, has for some years been marketing an advanced, layered and integrated ground based air defence system (GBADS) called “Sable”. This uses a “building blocks” approach to integrate all current and future ADA assets into a singe system of systems.
The current heart of the SA ADA is some 30 aging GDF 05 L90 twin 35mm towed cannon controlled by four Reutech Radar Systems (RRS) ESR220 Thutlhwa (Kameelperd/Giraffe) Mobile Battery Fire Control Post Systems (BFCP). These NATO D-Band radars have a range of 120km. If allocated six to a battery, there are sufficient guns for five batteries, although there are only four BFCP.
Also part of the mooted Sable architecture is a battery of eight Thales Starstreak Lightweight Multiple Launchers and about 100 Starstreak very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) high-velocity missiles acquired under Project Guardian. These missiles are allocated to 104 Battery of 10 ADA Regiment in Kimberley. The battery that can be parachute dropped also includes two two Thales Page continuous-wave (CW) low-observable battery air defence local warning radars with a 20km range. Denel credits the cannon with a range of 4km and the VSHORAD missiles with a range of 5km (Thales says 7km).
The GBADS 1 system last month successfully completed its Level 5 System Factory Acceptance Test (FAT), clearing the way for the achievement of an interim operating baseline for the system. Denel Integrated System Solutions (DISS) the GBADS prime contractor, said in a statement the tests were conducted at Mobile Deployment Wing and Swartkop Airfield over a four week period with support from both the South African Air Force and the Army. The tests were completed July 21. The equipment is currently being prepared for the final training of the crews in Kimberley and then on to the Operation Test & Evaluation (OT&E) at Combat Training Centre in Lohatlha from next month after which the system will be delivered into service.
The ADA has a long-standing requirement for a SHORADS. The SA Army has stepped up its funding for Project Protector, also known as GBADS 2, in the last two years. They are funding Denel Dynamics to customise its Umkhonto-IR Mk II short-range air defence missile for landwards use coupled to a Reutech Radar System (RRS) RSR 320 (also known as the DBR XL) dual band X-and-L band technology radar. Once in service, the 125kg missile will extend the ADA umbrella to some 12km. The Umkhonto is currently in service aboard the SA Navy’s four Valour-class frigates and six Finnish Navy vessels: four Hamina class missile boats and two Hämeenmaa class minelayers.
The land variant will a containerised launcher that can be fired from the ground or from a Kynos 8×8 truck – as shown in mock-up at the Africa Arospace & Defence show in Cape Town last September. It is not clear when Protector will migrate from technology to production project. The Estimates of National Expenditure in February this year noted a “64.8% increase in expenditure in the ADA Capability subprogramme in FY2010/11” that “is due to the delivery milestones of the shoulder launched air defence artillery system [Guardian] and mobile ground to air missile system programmes [Protector].” Further into the future lurks Project Outcome (GBADS III) that could see the Umkhonto enhanced to a medium range all-weather standard.
Denel Dynamics air defence missiles executive manager Machiel Oberholzer in May 2008 told defenceWeb the Umkhonto development path included an extended range (ER) IR variant as well as an all-weather radar-guided version and an ER version of that. “It is a good concept, six missiles in an ISO-container that can be mounted on any type of vehicle, that has a 360-degree engagement capability and a high kill probability due to is large warhead,” Oberholzer said.
An extended-range Umkhonto IR version could range up to 22km. The radar version, dubbed the AWSAM – all weather surface to air missile – would have a 20km range, while an extended range version fitted with a booster rocket (AWSAM-E) – would hit out up to 30km – which placed it in the medium-range capability.
He added the advantage of such a family of missiles was that “you can have a cocktail of missiles in your launchers so you can engage with the most appropriate one to the threat. Infrared missiles are cheaper than radar and you don’t want to use an expensive missile to shoot down an easy target.”
Denel Dynamics CE Jan Wessels says Denel Dynamics is looking for funding partners for the advanced Umkhonto future configurations. “It will ideally be a programme like A-Darter”, the R1 billion joint venture 5th generation IR short-range air-to-air missile being developed with Brazil. But he also questions the notion that Umkhonto IR is just a good-weather system. “If you can just highlight that’s not the case. The fact that the SA and Finnish navies have selected Umkhonto after in-depth studies – despite typical naval weather conditions – says it all. How this missile works is you have an advanced 3D radar on the ship or launch point and that keeps tracking the target after the missile is fired and via datalink guides the missile to within the last kilometre or so.
“Only then does the IR seeker become active. The more accurate the 3D radar is, the more you can do and the better the performance as an all-weather system. The IR seeker is just used for the last pinpoint accuracy. The better the radar, the better the missile.” It is therefore no longer clear that the all-weather variant will be radar guided as was provided for in earlier thinking.
It is not known in the public domain how many Umkhonto systems the ADA will acquire or whether more Starstreak systems will be purchased. Defence analyst Helmoed-Römer Heitman says
“the intention on paper is – or should be – to acquire equipment for two or three mechanised ADA regiments and three or four motorised ADA regiments as well as for two light ADA regiments, although the latter will for a long time have only one equipment set, the reserve unit simply relieving the regular one on deployments. But anything beyond one mobile battery and a second light battery will depend on a substantial budget increase…
“Assuming that we stay with the current plan of single air-mobile (Starstreak), mobile (motorised, SHORAD, cannon, VSHORAD) and mechanised (ditto but armoured, cross-country platforms), the would suggest:
1. Either four or seven containerised Umkhonto launchers (depending on whether one or two per troop plus one spare) with an initial outfit of six missiles for each of the deployed launchers plus some trials missiles. I doubt that they will buy additional missiles at this stage; they did not even buy a full load-out for the ships.
2. A second buy of eight Starstreak launchers and missiles.”
The threat posed by enemy aircraft forced all belligerents during World War One (WW1, 1914-1918), to allocate to some artillery and machine gun units to the anti-aircraft (AA) function. The Union Defence Force established its first air defence artillery (ADA) unit in April 1939, when the 1st AA Battery was created as part of the then-Coast Artillery Brigade. In 1944, AA units became part of the SA Air Force, only to be handed back to the SA Army in 1949. Two years later, the traditionally close links between the AA and the Coast Artillery, both were merged into the short-lived first Corps of Marines. The coast artillery was stood down in 1955, and the Marines disbanded. The ADA returned to the Army. The present ADA school and regular force 10 ADA Regiment was established in February 1968. The ADA was established as a separate corps in 1984. The SA ADA Formation was founded on January 1, 1999. The ADA Reserve regiments are the Cape Garrison Artillery, Cape Town; Regiment Vaalrivier, Vereeniging; Regiment Oos Transvaal, Benoni; 6 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Springs and 44 Parachute Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Pretoria.
Decision support during the project study for the integration, command, control and sensor needs for Ground Based Air Defence Systems
EBEB/2010/508 15 Sep 2011 R24 892 386,20 CSIR DPSS
Staff support during the project study for Project Fellowship which addresses the integration, command, control and sensor needs for the Ground Based Air Defence – extension of EBEB/2008/425
BEB/S2011/2470 4 Aug 2011 R227 552,00 CSIR DPSS
BEB/S2010/238 25 Aug 2010 R2 086 185,90 CSIR DPSS
Modelling and simulation decision support during the project study of the integration, command, control and sensor needs for the ground based air defence system – Extension of EBEB/2008/334
BEB/S2010/2417 22 Dec 2010 R592 330,80 CSIR DPSS
Staff support during the Project study for the integration, command and control and sensor needs for Ground Based Air Defence System
EBEB/2008/425 12 Jun 2009 R4 493 000,00 CSIR DPSS
Modelling and simulation decision support during the project study for the integration, command, control and sensor needs for the Ground Based Air Defence System
EBEB/2008/334 5 Feb 2009 R9 378 710,09 CSIR DPSS