Denel rebrands to Denel Overberg Test Range


Denel is today changing the name of its missiles and aircraft systems test range on the southern tip of Africa to Denel Overberg Test Range (DOTR).

The company says the rebranding emphasises the test range’s relationship with the state arsenal. “The Test Range will continue to provide specialised in-flight systems performance measurement services to its growing clientele in the local as well as international aerospace industries. “The new name also reflects our deep roots in the southern Cape where we have helped to build the reputation of the Overberg since we started our operations in the mid-eighties,” says DOTR CE Abrie van der Walt.

Over the past two decades the Test Range has become a well-known venue for the in-flight performance measurements on sophisticated missiles and aircraft systems. While the South African Department of Defence remains its primary client, services are also rendered to clients in the local defence industry as well as international clients from especially Europe and the Far East. “On average about 45% of the test range’s income is currently derived from international sales.”

As an independently operated business entity the test range prides in providing an independent, impartial, confidential and cost-effective service to all its clients. “The experience gained during hundreds of tests enables the test range to assist clients during the development of these systems, their qualification and certification, and finally their commissioning into service,” the company adds in a media release. Weapons tested at the DOTR include the Taurus Systems KEPD-350 stand-off missile, the MBDA Storm Shadow stand-off missile, the Diehl-BGT Defence IRIS-T, MBDA Starstreak, MBDA Mistral air defence missiles, the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto surface-to-air missiles and Denel Dynamics’ A-Darter fifth generation air-to-air missile.

The range has the capacity to manage and execute any combination of air, ground and sea flight tests, with quality assurance and performance verification services. With its focus mainly on evaluation of flight performance rather than the destructive power of weapons, the vast majority of firings are performed with inert warheads and/or telemetry packs. “The test range’s array of measuring systems, sophisticated support facilities, experienced personnel and unique location make it one of the best equipped and effective test ranges available today.”

Since 2003 the range also provides mobile telemetry support to space launch missions at remote sites. Testimony to its successes in this arena is a five year contract signed in September 2010 with the French Space Agency, CNES, to provide telemetry tracking support for space launches such as the “Johannes Kepler mission” that carried supplies to the International Space Station.

The range is situated on the south-eastern coast of the Western Cape between Waenhuiskrans and Cape Infanta and forms part of the Greater De Hoop Conservation Area, well-known for its scenic beauty and diversity of ecosystems and one of the few relatively untouched nature areas remaining along the South African south coast. “Through the years we have proven that we can conduct weapon systems testing in an ecologically sensitive area without causing harm to the environment,” says Van der Walt. Underlying the test range’s success story is its commitment to delivering quality service while remaining sensitive to its unique environment. This resulted in the facility receiving ISO-9000 certification in July 1998, followed by an ISO-14001 certification of its Environmental Management System in October 2000.