Rheinmetall outlines African Aerospace & Defence exhibits


South Africa is regarded as the regional superpower of Sub-Saharan Africa. Further reinforcing its role as an influential and responsible player on the global stage, the country is modernizing its armed forces. Every two years, the South African government invites the world to the African Aerospace & Defence (AAD) exhibition, the largest of its type on the African continent.

As an important partner of the South African Department of Defence and its procurement agency Armscor, Rheinmetall will be showcasing a sampling of its products and projects at this leading trade fair held at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.

Rheinmetall has for many years been a partner of South Africa’s armed forces and defence industry. Founded in 2008, Rheinmetall Denel Munition (Pty) Ltd. is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH (51%) in Germany and the South African company Denel (Pty) Ltd.

A global player, Rheinmetall Denel Munition has expertise in artillery, mortar and infantry systems as well as plant design, ranging from development and engineering to production. Its stated goals are to supply the South African National Defence Force, or SANDF, with state-of-the-art effectors and to operate highly efficient production plants. Besides South Africa, Rheinmetall Denel Munition primarily serves customers in Asia, the Middle East and South America. Rheinmetall and its South African subsidiary are thus able to supply their respective core markets with the Group’s complete array of products.

At Outdoor Stand 3SE/3SW1, Rheinmetall Denel Munition will be on hand at AAD with an extensive range of hardware, including a broad assortment of ammunition for indirect fire applications, such as the ballistically matched 155 mm Assegai, the 105 mm, the latest generation of 60 mm patrol mortar bombs, the extended range of 40 x 51 mm grenades or the 76/62 mm IM PFF (insensitive munition).

Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) offers a wide range of vehicles, from lightweight patrol vehicles and its TG, HX and SX trucks, right through to modular combat vehicles like the Boxer. At AAD 2012 RMMV is displaying several different configurations from its pure military logistical HX series of vehicles. These include the HX60 (4×4), the HX58 (6×6) and the HX77 (8×8). All HX vehicles are “military off the shelf” (MOTS) products specially developed for military applications. Their main priority is extreme mobility and reliability even in the harshest terrain, Rheinmetall said. As such they are the logistical backbone of numerous armies in Afghanistan, where they are put to the test in thousands on a daily basis.

If required, all of these vehicles can be either equipped with a modular armoured cabin (MAC) or a fully integrated armour cabin to meet the highest STANAG or Mil-Standard specifications with regard to ballistic and mine protection. Installation of the MAC takes only six to eight hours, and can be performed by two trained technicians with the help of a forklift.

RMMV has been systematically expanding its portfolio of commercial off the shelf vehicles in the under-3.5-tonne weight class. Examples include the lightweight, highly mobile, all-terrain-capable Amarok M pickup truck (the ‘M’ stands for military) and the Widder van. At AAD, RMMV is showcasing an Amarok M configured as an off-road patrol vehicle, while the Widder version on display is the special “Pilot Rescue Vehicle” which the German Air Force deploys at its bases.

At stand 3SE/3SW1 in the Outdoor Space Hangar 3, RMMV vehicles can be experienced live.

Naval applications

The South African Navy is among the most advanced in the region. Here, too, Rheinmetall has emerged as a partner: one of the company’s submarine simulators has been in service in South Africa since 2005.

Visitors to AAD can view the company’s Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS) and Rapid Obscurant System (ROSY). The fully computerized MASS decoy system protects from attacks with modern, sensor-guided anti-ship missiles on the high seas and littoral zones as well as from asymmetric, terrorist-type threats. Since its market launch in 2002, eleven nations have contracted a total of 186 MASS launcher systems for 22 different types of vessels. The system is suited for the combat performance upgrade of South Africa’s Valour-class corvettes, slated to get underway in 2013 with its first of class SAS Amatola.

The 40mm 360° Rapid Obscuring System Naval ROSY countermeasure system protects small craft such as fast attack boats and rigid hull inflatable boats. It enables sailors, coast guards and special forces operating in coastal waters and on rivers to defend themselves from sudden flat trajectory fire.

Air defence

Modern air defence systems have to be able to ward off attacks by fixed wing and rotary aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems. Rheinmetall has several effectors for this, including the Skyshield and Skyguard air defence systems.

Skyshield can use Oerlikon GDF 007 twin guns as its effectors. With a rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute, the GDF 007 is designed to fire conventional 35mm rounds as well as Rheinmetall’s proprietary Ahead ammunition, which features a programmable ejection point of its sub-projectile payload. It is also possible to upgrade the combat effectiveness of older GDF 005 or Mk V gun systems.

At ADD Rheinmetall is displaying its SkyChamp Enhanced Mission Simulator, the training system for the Skyshield and the Skyguard air defence systems. Also on show are cutaway models of the company’s Ahead ammunition.

Optics and optronics

On display at AAD will be Rheinmetall’s GN night vision goggles and KN 200/250 night vision device. Visitors can also view the company’s laser light modules, including the Vario Ray (LLM-VR) and the LLM01. Both devices are currently being tested and evaluated as attachments to the R4 Assault Rifle Upgrade for the South African National Defence Force. In Germany, the Vario-Ray has passed the evaluation phase and is now being procured for the German Army soldier modernization programme “Gladius”. Further points of interest include the Dismounted Soldier Identification Device/DSID and the MultiRay fire control unit/aiming system.