The first phase of the ground-based air defence system (GBADS) – its local warning segment – has been delivered to the SA Army and is operational, according to the latest Armscor annual report.
The report further notes the GBADS programme is not fully funded with indications development work on the product baseline will be achieved by March 2021.
“Phase two of the GBADS programme comprises two steps,” according to the report with the first an upgrade of the gun fire control system (GFCS) of the 35 mm anti-aircraft gun in service with the SA Army Air Defence Artillery Formation.
“This upgrade provides for the addition of a radar-guided semi-integrated gun fire capability to the 35 mm guns, which significantly enhances the operational capability of these assets. During the reporting period, all design and production activities were completed. The SANDF conducted final operational test and evaluation (FOT&E) and expressed satisfaction with the enhanced operational capability given the adapted concept of operations now reflected in user doctrine.
“Technical publications and training documentation was also completed during the reporting period and the interim operational baseline for this segment achieved. Remaining work includes completion of corrective actions following FOT&E and integration of system information into the SANDF’s Logistic Management Information System. Handover of system management responsibility to the SANDF was planned for May 2019.
“The third phase of the GBADS programme addresses battle management, command and control, communications, computers and information integration in the Mobile Air Defence System Regiment and to higher order user systems.
“Despite severe budget cuts affecting this programme, the design and development phase commenced during the reporting period with contracting of the design authority, as well as contracting for the upgrade of the Thutlwa radar and doctrine development support,” as per the report.
GBADS is divided into three components, with phase one seeing the Starstreak short range missile officially introduced into SA Army service in October 2014. Phase two is adding new generation Gun Fire Control Systems, namely the Skyshield system from Rheinmetall Air Defence as well as upgrading the current Mk 5 guns to the new 35 mm Mk 7 air defence gun system configuration, which includes AHEAD ammunition. Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD) was responsible for the gun and radar upgrades, while Denel integrated the new generation communication platform.
Phase three will see integration of the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto air defence missile into GBADS. Denel Land Systems Integrated System Solutions was contracted to add new generation communications integration, software upgrades and the ability to integrate Umkhonto missiles.