Armscor quality assurance in action on Project Hotel


Quality assurance and project management are watchwords Armscor sticks strictly to at SAS (Sandock Austral Shipyards) in Durban where the new hydrographic vessel for the SA Navy (SAN) is under fabrication.

The new vessel is the major component of Project Hotel which will see the SAN hydrographic office – and the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) – also acquire a pair of fully integrated inshore survey motorboats, a sea boat and a reserve inshore survey motorboat.  Upgrading of the SAN hydrographic office is a further part of Project Hotel which also has integration of a SA Air Force (SAAF) Super Lynx 300 maritime helicopter, operated by 22 Squadron, onto the new hydrographic survey vessel.

The project was slated for completion by June 2023 Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) heard from Secretary for Defence Gladys Kudjoe in June last year.

Over and above manufacturing the vessels, the project also provides for
integrated logistic support and technology transfer to facilitate integration of the product system into the operational user environment is how the latest Armscor newsletter describes another aspect of Project Hotel.

It goes on to report that following successful completion of “several critical design reviews and baseline audits”, the Armscor quality department recommended approval of the initial product baseline to mark progress and give the green light for the next baseline.

“The involvement of Armscor quality assurance on a project of this scale and complexity meant a full-time quality team had to be formed, headed by Bradly Steyn, Cape Town-based quality manager, with responsibilities decentralised between Armscor quality representatives in Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The east coast office is the site of prime construction – the hydrographic survey vessel.

“From the outset, it was obvious the KwaZulu-Natal quality assurance division,
with a core specialty in communication systems and simulators had to diversify and upskill to execute acceptances including among others welding inspections, block fabrication inspection, piping inspection and tank pressure testing on the vessel.

“The new construction environment comprising pre-fabrication, fabrication and
erection, all underpinned by extensive welding not only expanded their scope and responsibility beyond onboard electronic systems and hydrographic equipment but turned into a rewarding investment for Armscor.

“Key project team members underwent welding inspection training to bridge the knowledge gap are the KwaZulu-Natal based quality specialists ­- Brendan Paul and Sicelo Nkosi. Both are familiar with the new generation tactical communications system that will be integrated on the vessel as its main communications system. Both specialists were part of its development and production at Reutech Communications in New Germany.

“As the project progresses, Armscor quality assurance looks forward to completion of hull construction and acceptance of the propulsion, communications and surveillance, auxiliary, electrical, armaments and outfitting the vessel,” the newsletter reports.