The International SKA Organisation Project Office issued a request for proposals (RfP) earlier this month for the SKA pre-construction phase.
The RfP is an invitation for international consortia to bid for work packages to design various components of the SKA, such as antennas, receivers, signal processing systems, data transport and high performance computers.
SKA South Africa is positioned to play a prominent role in responding to this request because of the expertise in the SKA South Africa project team and the involvement of local industry in the development and delivery of the MeerKAT telescope. The MeerKAT engineering team and local industry have been in discussion with their international peers to form consortia that will respond to the RfP.
In February, the SKA SA Project Office held an information session for local industry, providing insight into opportunities for participation in the MeerKAT project and the SKA RfP process.
The SKA pre-construction phase, running to the end of 2016, is the initial part of the specification and design of the SKA telescope, during which the telescope architecture will be designed and the requirements for all sub-systems will be determined.
The overall aim of this phase is to deliver detailed designs and blueprints for the SKA facility to go out to tender for construction.
The SKA South Africa project office is in the process of finalising a subsidy programme where local industry and institutions will be assisted to participate in this preparatory phase of the SKA on a shared risk basis, in order to develop expertise, competency and know-how to be internationally competitive in bidding for SKA contracts when the telescope is built.