Denel moving into command and control market


State owned defence conglomerate Denel will reposition itself to become the key player in the command and control integrated systems domain in South Africa, according to Group Chief Operations Officer Jan Wessels.

He said that Denel has during the past 15 months considered various ways to enter the command and control systems domain, including acquiring equity in existing command-and-control capabilities in South Africa, or forming joint ventures, or growing this capability organically.

Denel’s vision is to be the strategic systems supplier to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and in fulfilling this mandate it will implement a command and control business model. Denel will design, develop, install and service systems in collaboration with the end user.

Wessels told defenceWeb that Denel is not planning to take away command and control capability from local companies – rather, it plans to procure hardware from them and do final integration of the product. “We don’t intend to push other guys out of the industry, but to provide security of supply on the integrated system level to our local customer,” he said.

Denel will be system architects, getting requirements from the customer, selecting the most optimal building blocks (hardware and software) and configuring and commissioning the integrated systems. Some companies that Denel will likely work with on a project-by-project basis include Saab, Thales, Cassidian, Selex, Cybicom Atlas Defence and others.

Wessels noted that there is demand for command and control systems from the South African Navy, Air Force and Army. For instance, the SANDF has Project Chutney underway to upgrade SANDF radars.

Wessels commented that most nations rely on their national defence industry leaders, rather than overseas defence contractors, to provide strategic command and control systems capability, as it is a very sensitive military component. South Africa can be no different, he said.

Wessels indicated that Denel will make formal announcements about implementation before December 2013.