Denel OTR in the Luftwaffe’s sights?

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Denel’s Overberg Test Range (OTR) could be the site selected by the German Air Force to test its Taurus air-to-ground missile.

This emerged from a Denel post Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) summary of activities during last month’s exhibition at AFB Waterkloof.

A Denel statement said that a number of foreign delegations including the Luftwaffe were hosted by Denel during AAD, which ran from September 14 to 18. The German delegation was headed by Lieutenant General Joachim Wundrak, Commander Air Operations.
“He discussed plans to use OTR in Southern Cape for testing of its Taurus air-to-ground missile in 2017,” the statement said.

OTR is a versatile missile and aircraft test range specialising in performance evaluation and verification services on in-flight systems. It provides support for qualifying airborne systems, as well as validating the operational effectiveness of military systems for South African military industrial users, international defence forces and the armaments sector.

Germany in the past made extensive use of the range, taking out a contract to test the Taurus air-launched cruise missile in 1999. Between then and 2014, the Taurus was tested at the OTR eight times. The German Navy began using the range from 2000. At the moment Germany is a very large and enthusiastic customer, in the form of the German Air Force and Navy and defence companies. For instance Diehl has used the Range to test its IRIS-T surface-to-air missile.

In the 2015/16 financial year the OTR saw flight tests on sophisticated missile, rocket, bomb and guided munitions systems as well as evaluation and measurement of aircraft performance and avionics systems. OTR was also used for trajectory measurement of bombs and unguided munitions, anti-tank tests, helicopter-based and electronic warfare (EW) tests.

OTR listed five key highlights and achievements for the period under review. These included conducting test campaigns for European and South East Asian clients, including a naval exercise and testing of air defence weapons as well as rocket firings for a new client.

In its post-AAD roundup, Zwelakhe Ntshepe, the Acting GCEO of Denel, said there was significant interest in the company’s products and systems from foreign delegations.
“Exports already contribute 58% of Denel’s total annual revenue of more than R8-billion,” said Ntshepe. “Although we remain the primary partner of the South African defence and security forces we are also targeting more international partnerships and export opportunities in key regions such as South East Asia, the Middle East and the rest of the African continent.

One of the highlights of AAD 2016 was the signing of an agreement between Denel and Poly Technologies, China’s top state-owned defence supplier, to collaborate in the maritime sector. This will cover areas such as ship repairs, shipbuilding, naval systems and marine services.

One of Denel’s fastest-growing business units, Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime joined forces with the CSIR to develop and market local technology that can detect illegal fishing in South Africa’s coastal waters and the unauthorised dumping of waste oil into the ocean.

Ntshepe said there is considerable interest in both local and international defence circles in the Africa Truck that was unveiled by Denel Vehicle Systems during AAD 2016.

Denel Dynamics is developing the Cheetah C-RAM missile that can counter rockets, artillery and mortars. When the Cheetah is integrated with the Oerlikon Skyshield developed by Rheinmetall Air Defence it offers a quickly deployable system that can be used in homeland defence and by expeditionary forces, Denel said.



Denel has also collaborated with Saab, to integrate the locally developed Umkhonto surface-to-air-missile with the Swedish group’s Giraffe radar.