Safran and Afrimeasure strengthen ties with sensor production and maintenance


French defence company Safran Electronics & Defence is forging closer ties with Afrimeasure, which specialises in electro-optical equipment.

To this end, a number of Safran representatives visited Afrimeasure at its Midrand facilities on 13 February to host members of the defence and security sector in South Africa, along with members of the military attache and advisory corps (MAAC). Amongst those that attended were senior Denel leaders and SA Air Force Chief, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo.

Safran Electronics & Defence presented to the audience their range of electro-optical systems and sights, including weapon and helmet-mounted sights and cameras, orientation and targeting systems, handheld cameras, and optronics and navigation systems for armoured vehicles.

Safran supplies the MATIS thermal imager for Project Hoefyster, under a 2014 contract for three types of MATIS systems for the 8×8 Badger infantry fighting vehicle that will be delivered by Denel to the South African Army.

For the Badger, the MATIS sights will be part of the solution for the different configuration turrets, including the 30 mm fire support and gun/missile turrets. The MATIS imagers were produced at the Sagem plant in Poitiers, France, with Afrimeasure handling part of the final imager integration, along with testing and through-life maintenance in South Africa.

To date, Safran and Afrimeasure have delivered 21 MATIS thermal imagers to Denel while 39 are at Afrimeasure’s facilities awaiting delivery.

Afrimeasure CEO Dean Mogale told defenceWeb that equipment can be produced and maintained in South Africa so it does not have to be returned to France for maintenance or repair. Mogale added that thermal imager manufacture and support was not a capability many people thought the company could have.

Thousands of MATIS systems have been delivered by Safran to customers around the world. The company describes the MATIS as a multipurpose thermal camera integrable on various platforms (vehicles, observation systems, sighting systems etc.) and qualified to withstand severe firing shocks.

Afrimeasure, founded in 2007, has in the past done work for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and sold 5 000 night vision goggles to the military.

It designed the radio interface for the Project Radiate radios the SANDF has taken into service from Reutech.

Afrimeasure also has a technical training academy and is currently busy with a contract with Altron to train 120 technicians a year for five years. So far, 80 have graduated and of those, 70 have been placed in the industry.