Denel has been showcasing its capabilities with a series of show and tell events and visits, which in the past month have included a tour of the Overberg Test Range and a visit from a Nigerian delegation.
Governor Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai and other senior officials from Nigeria’s Kaduna State Government visited Denel on Monday. This comes after Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, visited Denel in January 2018, including Rheinmetall Denel Munition.
Last week Denel hosted a Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises oversight visit, which was attended by Denel Board Chairperson Monhla Hlahla and Denel Group CEO Danie du Toit. They visited the Pretoria Metal Pressing (PMP) plant, amongst others. In July, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Phumulo Masualle toured Denel and was exposed to most of its products, including guided weapons, armoured vehicles and artillery.
Late last month the Denel Overberg Test Range in the Western Cape hosted a show and tell event where it showcased the facility’s capabilities to stakeholders and clients on 22 August.
Bridget Salo, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Denel Overberg Test Range, said “The Show and Tell is a highlight on our calendar as it affords us with an opportunity to interact with our stakeholders and provides a valuable platform to showcase the latest developments in our industry.”
This year’s occasion was attended by almost 50 guests, including representatives from the Department of Defence (DoD), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Armscor, Air Force Base Overberg, the defence industry, other State Departments, as well as Denel Corporate Office.
According to Colonel Cassie de Castro, Officer Commanding of Air Force Base Overberg, the aim of the Show and Tell was to show a combined and united capability between the Air Force Base and the Test Range. “The power of the two facilities combined has not yet been fully explored as a strategic asset for South Africa”, he said.
An overview of the flight test capabilities of Denel Overberg Test Range and Air Force Base Overberg were presented to the guests. Presentations and demonstrations on various aspects of the activities of the Test Range were also delivered by Test Range employees with topics including flight safety planning and safety footprints, advances made in air traffic monitoring, the replacement of the Tracking Radar travelling wave tube, the upgrade of the central Timebase system and the Telemetry station computer replacement.
A visit to Air Force Base Overberg was also included in the programme before the delegates returned to the control room at the Test Range to observe the executing of a live test with a Gripen aircraft.
Danie du Toit said the Test Range is a national capability which should be maintained at all costs. A high ranking officer from the South African National Defence Force also stated that they will continue their unwavering support for the Test Range – the defence force uses it extensively for testing and the Department of Defence has a five year contract for flight test services up to 31 March 2022.
Apart from providing in-flight test services to the South African National Defence Force, the range has been supporting Denel Dynamics on various missile tests, including A-Darter qualifications and testing of the Marlin radar-guided air-to-air missile.
In the 2016/17 financial year, the range hosted tests for two established international clients, namely a ground-to-air defence test for the Singapore Air Force involving missiles fired at static and dynamic targets, and an air-to-ground test for the German Air Force in which stand-off missiles were released at various targets.
Denel’s stakeholder engagements come at a time when it is engaging in a turnaround strategy that seeks to reverse the R1.7 billion loss it made in the last financial year. This week it announced it had received a R1.8 billion recapitalisation from Government. It had requested R2.8 billion and the remaining sum is expected to be allocated in the 2020/21 financial year.
Du Toit said the recapitalisation comes on the “back of tangible progress with detailed plans to restructure the business, enter into strategic partnerships and find new markets for Denel’s high-technology products and solutions”.
Denel has an order book worth tens of billions of rands but has been struggling to deliver on its contracts due to liquidity challenges.