Legend undergoing Ndlovu test


Exercise Ndlovu, now underway, is expected to provide the South African Army and Joint Operations (J Ops) Division a first opportunity to test the recently-delivered Chaka brigade-and-below C2 system.

Chaka is an “operationally urgent” South African designed and built system ordered for about R57 million to provide the SA Army and J Ops a modern information and communications technology-based C2 system. Developed under Project Legend, Chaka consists of a static C2 system to support deployed brigade headquarters, mobile C2 systems to support battalion and company commanders, and location sensors, called “Impi” to track own forces. The Army wanted enough of these to support three simultaneous peace support operations elsewhere in Africa and one training exercise at home.

Manufacturer SAAB says Chaka enables a brigade commander and his staff to enjoy situational awareness unequal to that available up to now, plan operations and electronically send the resulting operational orders to subordinate commanders and control the execution of their plans.

SAAB Systems SA MD Willie Bothma said in August 2008 the deal represented a major leap forward in the utilisation of information technology to improve the operational effectiveness of the SA Army, the SA National Defence Force and J Ops that exercises C2 over all deployed forces. “Planning time will be reduced drastically and orders can now be sent instantaneously in near real-time”, said Bothma.

Bothma added that Chaka expanded on the C2 system supplied to the Air Defence Artillery for the Ground Based Air Defence System. “It is of special significance that the Chaka can also integrate with the conflict simulation system supplied by SAAB Systems SA to the SANDF Centre for Conflict Simulation (CONSIM) [in 2007]. This will enable the SANDF to ‘train as you fight and fight as you train’,” he added.
“The fact that the system is truly South African guarantees continuous, cost-effective support of the system, as well as the possibility of developing any additions to the system, according to evolving needs. This puts the SANDF in full control of their system,” Bothma further said.

The production contract, awarded in July 2008, was originally valued at R27 million but it is understood “specification creep” has pushed the price over the R30 million threshold, although, by how much, is not known. According to the Armscor Bulletin System funds allocated to the capability between January 2007 and August 2010 amounted to R55 167 541.51.

Bidders had to fulfil a range of requirements, including a commitment to “having a local support and enhancement capability within SA that can maintain/upgrade the full software suite for at least 10 years after commissioning”. The tender documents also required that the “source code of the system shall reside in SA for Department of Defence use”.

SAAB SA CEO Riaz Salojee in 2007 said the contract was “hotly contested” as “whoever wins has business for the next 30 to 40 years”. Other than SAAB, quotations had been requested from Fulcrum Information Technologies, EADS SA, Denel, African Defence Systems, CyberSim, FIMM Works, Elmer Communications Systems and Unified Data. CyberSim won but was then acquired by SAAB.

Saab Systems SA previously also developed and built the heart of SA Air Force’s Air Picture Display System (APDS), which is that service’s air mission C2 system. “With this new contract SAAB Systems SA adds the landward command and control domain to the existing air command and control domain in one business entity,” noted Bothma. “The advantage to the SANDF is that the expertise gained in the air environment is also available for the landward C2 domain. Furthermore, Saab Systems SA has already integrated elements of both systems to move towards the achievement of a more integrated joint command and control system for the SANDF.”

The Engineering News reported in August 2008 that Legend “was initiated in the period 2001/2002” but the Request for Proposals was only sent out to industry in December 2006. SAAB reportedly had 18 months after July 2008 in which to deliver its system to Armscor.

Chaka was developed on the back of years experience with a brigade-level wargaming solution called BattleTek. “Wargaming and C2 are actually two sides of the same coin – ‘train as you fight, fight as you train’,” SAAB Systems SA systems engineer Johan Maritz told Engineering News. “We are the only company in South Africa, and one of the few in the world, with this continuum between simulation and C2 systems.”

Supply and delivery of an operationally urgent command and control system for the South African Defence Force – extension of ETEL/2006/581

TEL/S2009/3950 19 Aug 2010 R41 171 817,00 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
t/a SAAB Systems Grintek

ETEL/S2008/3810 6 Mar 2009 R746 000,00 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
t/a SAAB Grintek Communications

Supply, installation, configuration, testing and training of Chaka Command and Control application and related components to SANDF Special Forces

ETEL/2010/50 18 Nov 2010 R2 061 321,50 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
t/a SAAB Systems SA

Design, supply, delivery, implementation, commissioning and interim logistic support of an “Operational Urgent” command and control system for the SANDF

ETEL/2006/581 12 Jan 2010 R411 898,64 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
t/a SAAB Systems Grintek

Staff support for the Joint Force Command and Control Capability Management – on going project

EBEB/2007/101 8 Nov 2007 R9 746 629,94 Armscor Defence Institutes (Pty) Ltd
t/a Defence Decision Support Institute

Staff support for the Joint force employment command and control capability management for Joint Operations Division – extension of EBEB/2004/35

BEB/S2006/2079 24 Jan 2007 R3 029 874,50 Armscor Defence Institutes (Pty) Ltd
t/a Defence Decision Support Institute