Overberg Test Range struts its stuff

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The Denel Overberg Test Range (OTR) in the Western Cape hosted its ninth “show and tell” for the wider South African defence community in partnership with Air Force Base (AFB) Overberg earlier this month (September).

The “demonstration of achievements forms part of the performance review activities on major contracts to deliver products and services to the SANDF (SA National Defence Force) and Armscor,” a statement from Denel read, adding, “the opportunity was also used to market OTR flight testing capabilities to the SANDF”.

“The show and tell is a highlight on our calendar as it affords us an opportunity to interact with our stakeholders and provides a valuable platform to showcase the developments,” OTR Chief Executive Bridget Salo is quoted as saying of the 7 September event.

Eighty-five guests including SA Air Force (SAAF) Chief, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo, senior Department of Defence (DoD), SANDF, Armscor and government department officials along with defence industry representatives made the trip to the southern Cape range and neighbouring Air Force Base Overberg.

They were given an insight into the base and its operations by Officer Commanding Colonel Donovan Chetty. This was followed by an overview of base capabilities including UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology in support of flight testing. Presentations on aspects of OTR activities delivered by test range employees covered, among others, flight test capabilities of the future, the tracking radar travelling wave tube replacement project, OTR’s target project for instrumentation validation periods, intercom replacement and range power supply.

Mbambo gave reasons why he supported the Denel show and tell effort, telling guests and staff “openness can be costly but it’s critical in building strong relationships”.

Elaborating, he said the event gave him an opportunity to “witness OTR becoming open about their challenges”.

“We must continue in the same spirit to be open and frank as organisations because it is our strength – without it, we shall not proceed and reach our common destination. We must do everything to protect our national assets – if we fail our future is bleak” the three-star is reported as saying before concluding with a warning, “if we don’t work collectively with government with a common vision we shall fail continuously. We must educate all sectors of government about what we have and their role in ensuring its success and protection”.

OTR has provided in-flight test services to the SANDF for many years, with A-Darter air-to-air missile development as one example.