Ongoing improvements at Armscor’s Alkantpan test range bring it closer to a shared vision of “being the ultimate test range of choice”.
In its latest annual report the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency notes the Northern Cape test range maintains two ISO (International Standards Organisation) certifications – 14001:2015 and 9001: 2015.
A range of tests was conducted for, among others, Denel Dynamics, Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), Fuchs Electronics, DLS, PMP and Armscor during the 20128/19 financial year. The number of tests done at the range is less than in the previous financial year and on the positive side the report notes “European customers have expressed interest in future testing at Alkantpan”.
While the test range was developed primarily for military use, the 2018/19 year again saw an increase in testing by what the report calls the “commercial explosives environment”. This includes companies supplying the mining sector.
Two milestones achieved are:
Upgrading and renewing the tracking radars. The MFTR 2100 radar will be upgraded with the newest technology available to ensure future requirements can be met. The upgrade will also extend the useable lifespan of the radars at a cost of R13,5 million.
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of Defence (DoD), Department of Science and Technology and Armscor was signed and regulations for the AGA (Astronomy Geographic Advantage) Act published by Parliament. Alkantpan was granted exemption for operation of the tracking radars but the operation of other equipment that will contaminate signals observed by the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) still need to be approved. Alkantpan has applied for permits for operation of equipment that poses a risk. The application is still under revision.