Denel’s Overberg Test Range (OTR) has been “invaded” by the Luftwaffe with four Tornados and over 200 people doing extensive testing on one of the air-to-ground missiles in its inventory.
This is not the first the time German air force has made use of the facilities in the southern Cape.
“We have been coming to Overberg every second year since 2001,” German deputy defence attaché Commander Kai Brand said, adding “billions of Rand” had been spent by the visiting air force over that time.
As matters presently stand the Luftwaffe will not have the opportunity of working alongside either the SA Air Force or the SA Navy during the current visit.
“We have approached the air force and discussions are being held at the very highest command levels of the national defence force,” Brand said adding the Luftwaffe would “unfortunately” not be part of any joint exercises with the SA Navy.
“The Navy has indicated its other commitments are presently such they cannot accommodate any joint exercises,” Brand said.
The Tornados, supported by a a Luftwaffe A310 MRTT in a transport role, arrived in South Africa at the weekend. The Tornados are from 33 Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader, based at Büchel Air Base. A US Air Force KC-10 provided air-to-air refuelling for the journey down.
The Taurus tests are expected to include live firing and missile quality assurance with close air support and low flying manoeuvres an integral part. A wide spectrum of instrumentation systems will be deployed for the evaluation and command and control will ensure operational evaluation criteria are met, as was done during previous missile testing done by the Germans at Denel OTR.
Brand echoed what was said by Abrie van der Walt, Denel OTR chief executive, when the German air force was at the facility in 2014.
He told defenceWeb the Luftwaffe “testing campaign confirms the test range’s reputation as an internationally recognised centre for testing and evaluation”.
Brand said the Denel OTR facility was “a world class” one.