Denel Overberg Test Range earnings, turnover up for 2012 financial year


Earnings before interest and taxes for the Denel Overberg Test Range increased from R1 million to R6 million for the 2012 financial year ending March 31, as the test range serviced several international clients and signed a three-year contract with the South African National Defence Force.

Denel’s Annual Report 2012 revealed that turnover for the test range was up for 2012, reaching R102 million, versus R83 million for the 2011 financial year. Export turnover increased slightly to R47 million (up from R35 million), but the confirmed order book dropped significantly for 2012, coming down to R45 million versus the R145 million recorded for the year before.

The Denel Overberg Test Range signed a three-year contract with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, which runs from 2011/12 to 2013/14. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) if the test range’s main client and the contract secures approximately 45% of the range’s projected income for the period, Denel noted.

Three international test campaigns involving testing of advanced missile and air defence systems were conducted during the 2012 financial year, offsetting the negative effect of the cancellation of the planned joint South African-German Cape of Good Hope exercise, Denel said. “Clients were satisfied with the test and support services rendered, confirming again the range’s suitability and convenience for a wide range of weapon system evaluations.”

The Denel Overberg Test Range (DOTR) is a missile and aircraft test range that provides turnkey flight test, system certification and performance evaluation services for missiles, rockets, bombs, guided munitions and aircraft. The range has the capacity to manage and execute air, ground and sea flight tests. It has the facilities to evaluate and measure the performance of aircraft, their avionics systems and their carriage and release of ordnance. The range is also able to conduct anti-tank tests, helicopter-based tests and electronic warfare tests.

Weapons tested at the DOTR include the Taurus Systems KEPD-350 stand-off missile, the MBDA Storm Shadow stand-off missile, the Diehl-BGT Defence IRIS-T, MBDA Starstreak, MBDA Mistral air defence missiles and the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto surface-to-air missile.

For the domestic market further test campaigns on the Denel Dynamics fifth generation A-Darter air-to-air missile development programme were supported, with a series of guided launches in January this year. One of the firings against a Skua high-speed target drone was confirmed to be the most complex dynamic set up used to date in an air-to-air scenario at the range, Denel said.

In addition to testing weapons and aircraft, the range provides mobile telemetry launch support services in remote locations during space missions, as well as operating a ground station for the transfer of data to and from satellites.

Early this year the DOTR provided remote telemetry support from Invercargill, New Zealand, for the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) during the successful launch of the ATV3 spacecraft. Two telemetry specialists and a remote telemetry station, consisting of a mobile tracking antenna and its associated equipment, were deployed to New Zealand to support the launch of the “Edoardo Amaldi” autonomous spaceship designed to re-supply the International Space Station. It successfully docked with the International Space Station on March 29. The vessel will be attached to the space station for approximately six months, collecting waste, after which it will undock and follow a trajectory that will cause it to burn out harmlessly into the atmosphere.

This was the second launch that has been supported by the Test Range under a five-year frame contract with the French Space Agency, CNES, for providing telemetry launch tracking support to future European space launches. The first work order under this Frame Contract was for providing mobile telemetry tracking from Invercargill in New Zealand during the launch of the “Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV2) that was launched last year. This followed as a result of the successful support that Denel Overberg Test Range provided with the launch of the “Jules Verne” Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV1) from the same location in New Zealand in 2008. The Test Range has also supported several space missions for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) in the past and has provided mobile telemetry support since 2003.

Denel said that one of the key highlights and achievements over the last year included changing the name of the test range, which became known as the Denel Overberg Test Range from April 1. The company said the rebranding emphasises the test range’s relationship with the Denel group.