Denel concluding Hoefyster development but fewer vehicles to be manufactured

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Denel is busy concluding development of the Badger infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) under Project Hoefyster, while revised production costs will see fewer vehicles manufactured for the SA Army.

Armscor this week briefed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) on the status of Hoefyster and other matters, noting that the project had stalled since 2019, mainly due to deviations from contracted specifications and financial constraints within Denel.

Project status was “interrogated” by the State-owned defence and security acquisition company last year, with Armscor presenting a proposed way forward to an SA Army Project Control Board (PCB). To unlock development (Phase 1 of the project), the PCB accepted deviations from the original specification as well as a reduction in the number of IFVs to be built. Production quantities are now for sufficient for a single battalion (88 vehicles) and not the three originally planned.

“Phase 1 contract has been amended, and Denel is currently busy executing the outstanding development actions,” Armscor reported.

Phase 2, for industrialisation and production, requires a “complete re-costing” due to the long delays experienced by the project. Armscor said it continues to engage with Denel on the proposed Phase 2 contract amendment and associated cost, and “expects that all issues for clarification and anomalies in the proposal will be resolved by the end of February 2024.”

Once the Denel proposal for the revised Phase 2 has been finalised, Armscor will formally submit the proposal to the SA Army for a final decision.

Last year, Armscor said Denel expected to establish a product baseline for the five main Badger variants by the end of 2025. Under the revised Phase 1 schedule, product baseline for the Section variant is expected in April 2024; the Fire Support variant in July 2024; the Command variant in December 2024; the Missile variant in March 2025; and the Mortar variant in December 2025. Product baseline was originally scheduled for late 2017.

Project Hoefyster phase one – for the design and development of five main variants – came into effect in June 2007 with delivery expected in May 2012. This was to be followed by phase two – industrialisation and production of 238 Badgers – with a completion date of November 2023.

As a possible alternative to the capability that is to be provided by Project Hoefyster, Armscor is in parallel executing a study into the possibility of performing a life extension of the Ratel infantry fighting vehicle.