Tellumat lands R24m airfield radar contract


The specialised ICT support company picks up a Saab Grintek contract.Tellumat Defence has been awarded a five-year R24 million contract by


The company will support and maintain the airfield radar approach systems (Afras) at various South African Air Force (SAAF) bases around the country.

The deal follows a similar contract to maintain and support SAAF`s AR3D Umlindi long-range air defence radar systems.

Saab Grintek Defence was previously contracted to maintain Afras, but business development manager Derik van Heerden says the company took a “strategic decision” not to tender for the current contract after the last lapsed.

“We maintained the SAAF airfield radar systems (manufactured by Alenia, now Selex) for many years from the mid-80s,” he says. “Due to SAAF budgetary constraints, we decided it did not make any more financial or business sense to maintain it as the equipment was getting older and more difficult to maintain.

“The equipment was installed from the late 70s and spares [have] become more difficult to source as the OEM [original equipment manufacturer] decided a long time ago not to support it anymore,” notes Van Heerden. “A strategic decision came not to submit a bid for the maintenance as [the requirement] versus the budget available just became impossible.”

Tellumat Defence MD Colin Meintjes says Afras forms part of the precision approach radar systems that guide aircraft onto airfields in conditions of poor visibility.

“It allows air traffic control to see and communicate to pilots how far they are from the runway and what their bearing and height is, and to guide them in with great precision,” Meintjes says.

Tellumat Defence will now be responsible for depot-level repairs and has set up a depot specifically for this purpose at the Air Force`s Mobile Deployment Wing in Pretoria.

Meintjes says SAAF technical personnel remain responsible for on-site first-level repairs and support, as well as intermediate (or second-level) repairs with Tellumat assistance and training. The depot represents third-level support and repair for faulty items.

“With the strong engineering and technical backing from other Tellumat Group companies, we can also address issues of obsolescence,” Meintjes adds. “Should any component become obsolete over the 25 to 30 years of a radar system`s life-time, we can re-design and manufacture it.”

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