Denel ISM helping upgrade SA Army’s air defences


Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime (Denel ISM) is working on various contracts to upgrade and improve its Ground-Based Air Defence System (GBADS).

Regarding the GBADS, as prime contractor Denel ISM is supporting phase one of the project, with a support contract running from October 2015 to March 2018 covering programme management, systems engineering and system support activities, according to Dr Dawie Roos, Executive Manager at Denel ISM. The first phase of the GBADS included the Starstreak Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) missile officially introduced into service in October 2014. The latter has a range of six kilometres and can be fired from a multiple round launcher or shoulder-launched unit.

The SA Army currently operates 35 mm Mk 5 Oerlikon Contraves air defence gun systems acquired from Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD) AG’s ancestor company. Phase two of the GBADS programme will add new generation Gun Fire Control Systems, namely the Skyshield system from RAD as well as upgrading the current Mk 5 guns to the new 35 mm Mk 7 air defence gun system configuration, which provides for the AHEAD ammunition capability.

An Ahead shell comprises 152 tungsten spin-stabilised sub-projectiles, which, when released, form a cone-shaped metal cloud, placed so the target, whether aircraft, missile or bomb, flies into it and is destroyed. The shells know when to detonate because an electronic timer is programmed, as it leaves the barrel, by an electromagnetic inductor in the gun muzzle.

Denel ISM is providing the Gun Fire Control Posts (Gun FCP) as part of the Skyshield gun fire control system upgrade. RAD supplies the fire control computers and sensors while Denel ISM is responsible for the next level integration which includes a new generation command and control capability.

Denel ISM is also busy with various activities relating to the next phase of the GBADS programme. The system study for the integration of the Mobile Air Defence System (MobADS) was contracted to Denel ISM with the main purpose of delivering an Allocated Baseline (ABL), Denel ISM told defenceWeb. Provision will also be made for integration of the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) missile system to the GBADS. Additional improvements to the GBADS include the integration of radar systems and the upgrade of communications, particularly integrating the new generation locally supplied radios acquired via Project Radiate.