The Bundesamt fûr Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung (BWB),the German equivalent to South Africa’s Armscor arms acquisition agency, has contracted Denel’s Overberg Test Range (OTB) to provide essential support during Exercise Good Hope IV that commenced this week.
The exercise is a large-scale bi-national exercise between a German task group consisting of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and Navy (Deutsche Marine) and their South African counterparts. The exercise is designed to enhance the military cooperation between the two countries. German Tornado aircraft, Lynx helicopters and frigates as well as support ships are participating in the exercise together with the South African aircraft and vessels and a OTB media release notes live missile firings along the coastline at OTB will be the highlight of the exercise.
“Due to new and unique requirements, the support required from OTB has grown tremendously since the first exercise in April 2000 – rendering this the biggest exercise to be conducted at OTB,” the statement adds. Therefore, in order to ensure that all tasks could be initiated in advance, preliminary discussions started a year ago. The objective of this joint exercise is mainly to provide combined training. As such, it will concentrate on the exchange of knowledge – taking place on land and sea – and will involve approximately 1000 people, eight ships and 18 aircraft from the two countries.
OTB will play the vital role of supporting the client in conducting the exercise safely within the planned period. Two different groups will work at OTB; the German Navy land support and the German Air Force group. Apart from providing logistical support, OTB will support the combined Task Group that will launch a number of missiles off the coast to a variety of targets.
“This includes a ship target and a variety of instrumented floating sea targets built according to client specification. The requisite support will include command and control of all the missile firings, telemetry reception of missile signals during flight, measurement of trajectories of missiles fired from sea and from aircraft, as well as safety footprint control over the sea area by means of OTB’s range safety display system and surveillance aircraft.
Missile firings will take place over a three week period under OTB’s control along the coast near Waenhuiskrans. While a wide spectrum of instrumentation systems for measurements and to meet mission requirements will be deployed by the testing facility, a communications infrastructure will also be set up to enable communication from OTB’s control room to all ships in the task force and the aircraft participating in the missions. A command and control will ensure that operational evaluation criteria can be met during each mission.
OTB is working very closely with the SouthAfrican Air Force and the South African Navy to provide a 1-stop facility that provides all the services required in an exercise to its clients. Over and above test support and providing targets, OTB will provide extensive logistic support including integration and office infrastructure, communication lines, as well as support items like rental cars, fuel and accommodation. OTB will also ensure that approximately 1 000 000 liters of Jet-A1 aircraft fuel is supplied timeously to the adjacent South African Air Force Base (AFB) Overberg so as to enable it to provide essential ground support during the exercise.
This exercise is a further demonstration of OTB’s status as an internationally recognised centre for testing and evaluation. For many years, OTB has been a key player in the South African defence industry and has conducted test campaigns for various clients from Europe and the Far East over the last decade, firmly establishing itself as a world class, cost effective venue for international tests. More than 30% of OTB’s annual turnover is earned from international contracts and the company is confident that this exercise will be followed by many more, the company says.