Armscor looking to foreign countries and government agencies for income


State-owned defence and security acquisition agency Armscor faces a dwindling income stream due to decreasing defence funding and has identified 15 potential new clients as possible users of its services.

The list includes the Command Management Information Systems (CMIS) division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the SA Police Service (SAPS) but is otherwise notable for the exclusion of defence and security related organisations, institutions or companies.

An exception could be made for the fledgling Border Management Authority (BMA), referred to in an Armscor presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) this week as the “agency”, a title done away with some years ago in an apparent effort to elevate the Department of Home Affairs managed facility. Armscor is, according to its presentation, “engaging” with the BMA to negotiate an MOU (memorandum of understanding) as regards “commercialisation opportunities for surveillance, security and maritime domain awareness systems for border security”.

Armscor is also making its expertise available to Transnet’s National Ports Authority as a possible user of surveillance and security systems. This is also at MOU stage.

The defence and security acquisition agency, in addition to seeking income by asset sweating particularly of property, has concluded MOUs with the Police Service and SITA (State Information Technology Agency). No details of products or services are given in the presentation by Armscor chief executive Solomzi Mbada.

The ultrasonic broken rail detector (UBRD) system developed by Armscor is in use on certain sections of the national rail freight network and negotiations are underway with Transnet Rail Freight to fit it elsewhere. Armscor is also in discussion with PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of SA) on the utilisation of the URBD as well as related security and surveillance equipment.

Austria and India are foreign countries where Armscor is negotiating commercial distribution agreements for its UBRD system.

Armscor radar expertise will, in all probability, be a future component of the SA Weather Service (SAWS) range of forecasting and modelling equipment with an MOU concluded and the Simon’s Town-based Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT) finalising radar and engineering support requirements.

Two planned future revenue streams Armscor envisages both stem from an identified need for more competent drivers. Negotiations for the establishment of a driver training academy in conjunction with the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and advanced driver training for the Johannesburg Waterworks entity (in all probability the Johannesburg Water utility) are underway.