Gerotek, the Armscor facility west of Pretoria, is best known for vehicle testing but it also has other ancillary facilities catering for the defence and security sectors.
One of these is a shooting range, upgraded about 10 years ago to meet the specifications of the then new Firearms Control Act.
The first stages of establishing a ballistic testing facility are now in place at Gerotek following a site visit last month. This will differ markedly from the existing range, which is also used for armour development testing, in that it will be home to the latest in high-tech measuring equipment.
This is in line with the Armscor Armour Development division’s mission to deliver effective armour protection solutions to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
“At present various elements of the required research on protection solutions are executed at a number of facilities,” an Armscor spokesman said.
“The Gerotek test facility is home to the Armour Development division’s workshop and material storage facility. This makes it convenient for the planned ballistic testing facility to be erected on the same site,” he said.
While costing, construction and completion dates have yet to be finalised, the new facility is seen as being where effective research on light to medium class, up to 23 mm, protection systems will be done. This is currently out of the question due to inadequate facilities.
“Measurements/observations of bullet penetration mechanisms, high impact behaviour of armour materials and behind armour effects need to be addressed.
“The planned ‘shooting range’, identified in the Armscor Tender Bulletin as R&D/AD-2014/858 requirement for architectural plans and project management for construction of a shooting range, is actually an indoor ballistic research facility containing or fitted with specialist equipment. This will include high speed and ultra-high speed cameras; projectile yaw and velocity measuring instruments; target and ammunition conditioning facilities; remote firing of weapons and a reloading capability. The facility will have the capability to conduct ballistic tests and qualifications on complete vehicles,” the spokesman said.
The existing range at Gerotek has been registered and/or certified with the SA Bureau of Standards, the SA Police Service and SASSETA, the South African security sector education and training authority.
Apart from its function as an armour development testing site, the existing Gerotek range is also utilised, on request, for police and other government forces training as well as by commercial clients.