Sweating Armscor assets, mainly property, was at one stage trumpeted as the way to eventually ensuring financial independence for the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency.
To date nothing concrete has emerged from plans to build a hotel and conference centre and add extra facilities, including lodge-type accommodation, to Armscor’s headquarters and its Alkantpan and Gerotek operations.
On the flipside of the coin, the coronavirus pandemic and South Africa’s reaction to it by way of declaring a national state of disaster had at least one plus for Armscor.
Protechnik Laboratories, an Armscor defence science and technology institute (DSTI), used in-house expertise and technology to develop, test, evaluate and produce hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants. Initially the in-house production was distributed to Armscor facilities and to what Armscor calls “government entities” as well as identified needy schools.
The sanitisers and disinfectants are firsts for Centurion-based Protechnik with product certification and ISO (International Standards Organisation) accreditation next on the to-do list. When these criteria are met, Protechnik will be able to sell its sanitisers and disinfectants, earning revenue. While it’s early days yet, exploring a licencing operation of some kind could further grow the revenue stream.
The Northern Cape is home to Armscor’s Alkantpan test range where unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being tested along with the by now internationally renowned facilities for artillery testing.
Again, in a more sensible option of asset sweating the UAV aspect of Alkantpan is enjoying management’s attention. Apart from offering a real “Blue Sky” environment to evaluate unmanned aerial platforms, the necessary measuring equipment is in position.
If marketed correctly to both the South African and international UAV manufacturing and flight test sectors, another steady stream of revenue could flow from Northern Cape to Armscor’s bank account in Pretoria.
Both these examples make sense, using existing Armscor skills and facilities without having to resort to outside consultants and property developers.
With the amount of Armscor work from the Department of Defence (DoD) set to decrease in light of the planned disappearance of the Special Defence Account (SDA), the Protechnik and Alkantpan experiences should be taken to heart.