Patria is manufacturing the first 16 Badger platforms for the South African Army in Finland before production is handed over to South Africa, with the first complete Badger systems set to be delivered to the Army in late 2016, according to Denel Land Systems (DLS).
Stephan Burger, CEO of DLS, said that although there were slippages with the development programme due to technical challenges, good progress was made with the Section Variant having undergone preliminary operational testing and evaluation by the SA Army. Initial feedback is very positive. The Command Variant has undergone final development tests.
Burger told defenceWeb that in December 2015 a Badger missile system was successfully tested up to a 5 km firing range while the new 30 mm CamGun exceeds expectations.
Burger said that platform production was on schedule, with Patria manufacturing the first Badger platforms in Finland before they are shipped to South Africa for final assembly and systems integration. DLS is still readying local production facilities, which will initially be at its factory. DLS may consider transferring the production of the Badger platforms to BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA), once LSSA has been taken over by Denel. This process, Burger said, could take several months to conclude.
Burger said that DLS has proven its production capability by delivering four turret kits per month to Malaysia. The Badger production will be of a similar nature. The company is approaching the halfway point with the turret contract – it is three years down the line of the seven year contract. Eleven turrets were exported to Malaysia in 2014, according to the National Conventional Arms Control Committee’s (NCACC’s) 2014 annual report.
Denel Land Systems is currently building the Badger for the South African Army after receiving a production contract in November 2013. These will be delivered over a period of ten years and will partially replace the Army’s Ratel fleet.
The vehicle’s platform is based on a design from Finnish company Patria. The design was modified by DLS to meet local user requirements, including landmine protection, manoeuvrability and firepower.
The contract will create and retain at least 2 000 jobs in the downstream South African defence industry, among local subcontractors as well as 200 direct jobs at Denel Land Systems. These jobs cover a wide spectrum, from graduate engineers, system designers and artisans to skilled and semi-skilled workers.
The Badger has been developed in numerous variants, including Command, Section, Mortar, Missile, Ambulance and Fire Support derivatives. The common turret structure, fitted with different weapon modules as well as a common platform, with variant specific fits, will simplify logistic support and reduce the cost of through-life support.
The Badger variants are equipped with various weapon systems. The main weapon system, used on the Section and Fire Support Variants, is the 30 mm externally-driven cam-operated cannon. This was developed by DLS, along with the 30 mm ammunition produced by Denel’s PMP division.
For the Mortar Variant, a 60 mm breech-loading long-range mortar was developed by DLS, along with 60 mm long-range ammunition, developed in accordance with NATO standards. The Ingwe anti-tank missile system, developed by Denel Dynamics, is used on the Missile Variant.