SAAF investing in EW


Sysdel, the small Pierre van Ryneveld-based defence electronics house, is benefitting from a South African Air Force reinvestment in electronic warfare (EW) means.

The Armscor tender bulletin system notes Sysdel was awarded a contract worth nearly R1.8 million for “limited product supply support of the open loop tracker, Dakota electronic intelligence, ESM/electronic intelligence and Oryx radar standoff jammer systems for the SAAF.” [ESM = electronic support measures] The contract is an extension of ELGS/2006/540. It is not clear what the total valu of the latter is. The Armscor system does show Sysdel was awarded a R4 million contract on arch 17 this year.

The SAAF lost its main EW platform, the Boeing B707-320C due to old age and high costs in 2006.

By then the aircraft were no longer being used as EW platforms due to the obsolescence of the EW equipment. It had been planned that the Airbus Military A400M would take over this function at 60 Squadron, but the cancellation of the acquisition has scuppered that.

The Dakota, or Douglas C47TP, was used as the training platform for the B707. The Oryx EW programme, described as stand-off radar jammers and codenamed Project Deer, was completed in June 2007.

The wikipedia notes EW “refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the electromagnetic spectrum.”

The Sysdel website shows the company was involved in all the above programmes as well as the outfitting of some SAAF Cessna C208 Caravan aircraft as EW platform. Several C208 were fitted with electro-optical pods in the run up to the soccer World Cup (Project Koiler), giving the light utility useful specialist functions.

Meanwhile, Grintek Ewation was in late February awarded a R2 280 702 for the “maintenance of the Oryx communication jammer, communication intelligence system and Dakota communication intelligence electronic warfare systems” as an extension of master contract ELGS/2005/152.