The two dozen interns at Denel Dynamics have shown off the results of a year of hard work, with projects ranging from cyber security to reconnaissance.
One of the tasks assigned to the interns was to investigate possible inefficiencies within Denel processes. The resulting Process Optimisation Project (POP) came up with a number of solutions to these problems, such as eliminating the gap between development and industrialisation and therefore avoiding penalties due to imminent delays.
The Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) project was aimed at improving cyber security at Denel. The interns in their presentation noted that cyber crime is growing and there is more need to autonomously monitor IT networks. The SIEM system they created monitors and flags suspicious activity and can prevent users from accessing certain content.
The largest intern project for 2017 focussed on the Surveillance Projectile System (SPS), which was designed to create an expendable, cost effective surveillance system. It comprises a fin-stabilised projectile, fitted with a camera and parachute, that is launched using compressed air. It sails over a target before the parachute is deployed and the projectile lands. The camera sends back live video to a ground station, allowing for cheap and fast reconnaissance imagery. As it has no motor, it is quiet and because it is small, it is difficult to intercept.
One of the key objectives was the projectile had to be cheap to manufacture – the system is far cheaper than a typical unmanned aerial vehicle.
Acting Denel Dynamics CTO Thendo Managa explained that the company has 24 interns who are funnelled from Denel’s engineering bursary scheme. This year’s intake was the largest since the programme has been running. In deciding what projects to get the interns to work on, Managa said Denel looked at what the company needed, such as skills for improving production processes to deliver on time, and development of new technologies in the missile systems area. The results of the Process Optimisation Project, for instance, will continue to be implemented past the internship programme.
Managa explained that it is not only Denel that benefits from the intern project – some of the interns will leave Denel and spread their skills and contribute to the South African economy.
Previous intern projects have included a throwable tactical observation ball, a process for streamlining shipping and an expendable nosecone to increase the range of the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile.