Desert Wolf becomes FLIR Land Systems distributor for Southern Africa


Pretoria-based heavy duty trailer manufacturer Desert Wolf has been appointed as accredited resellers of FLIR Land Systems cameras in Southern Africa.

US-based FLIR Land Systems is one of the world’s leading suppliers of top-end military grade thermal imaging equipment while its parent company FLIR Systems has over 40 years of experience in the field. FLIR’s products are used by governments and security services around the world for such applications as force protection, counter terrorism, search and rescue, perimeter security, navigation safety, law enforcement, narcotics detection, maritime and border patrol, and anti-piracy.

Desert Wolf stainless steel trailers are in use with the South African Police service and have been bought by oil companies, municipalities, airports, research institutions,

The SANDF, British Defence Force and United Nations.

According to Desert Wolf, FLIR Land Systems now provides the longest range thermal imaging systems available in Southern Africa – some of its cameras can see up to 20 km in the dark. This surpasses the capability of a standard camera’s reach of 10 km to 12 km.

Desert Wolf previously fitted many of its surveillance systems with cameras but now offers a much wider variety of equipment due to the FLIR Systems deal. Typical camera types available include daylight, low light and thermal imaging for night vision.

As these are high-tech military systems, the end-users would mostly be government and larger companies, such as mining houses, that need to conduct their own policing. For instance, for border control purposes, the systems can be deployed or installed along a 500 km border section to alert a centralised mobile control room of any human movement, which can be detected up to 20 km away. The camera is also unlikely to be seen, particularly at night, as it can be mounted on a high mast in trees or kept mobile on a trailer or a vehicle.

In November last year Desert Wolf delivered surveillance systems to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. The package included nine trailers each fitted with a thermal imaging surveillance camera on a 10 metre pneumatic mast, a generator, solar panels and microwave radio links, an 18 hour uninterrupted power supply and a 100 litre auxiliary diesel tank.
“Video images are fed from the trailers to a converted 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter mobile surveillance vehicle (MSV) and control unit. Access to the cameras can also be obtained remotely over a third-generation, or 3G, connection,” said Andries Keun, Desert Wolf MD.

The Sprinter was purchased from Carl Zeiss Optronics (CZO) and used to help the municipality fight metal theft that cost the metro R9 million in the 2009/2010 financial year. The first South African-built MSV provides long range, 360° day and night surveillance capability, even under adverse weather conditions and features a mast-mounted daylight charge-coupled device (CCD) camera with 36x zoom lens, high-resolution thermal imager (TI) for night surveillance and an eye-safe laser rangefinder for intruder position location.

The MSV can communicate with the existing Mandela Bay central control room, allowing operators in the MSV to select from and monitor the existing 350 surveillance cameras already installed around Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality will use the systems for promoting safety and security as well as preventing abalone poaching and cable theft. The system could also be used to monitor crime hot spots to crowd control at sporting events and beach surveillance.

The nine trailers cost roughly R800 000 each while the mobile surveillance vehicle is worth R6 million.

Meanwhile, Desert Wolf is in discussions with mining company Anglo American with regard to supplying one of its mines in the Northern Cape with an armoured vehicle with mast-mounted cameras, four trailers and three fixed installations.
“The mine covers an area of about 50 square kilometres and has experienced difficulties with illegal mining. Installing these surveillance systems and equipment would be the solution to monitor this area,” Desert Wolf owner Hennie Kieser told Engineering News.

In the coming months Desert Wolf will also start with the distribution of US-based telescoping mast manufacturer Will-Burt’s military camera masts.