Denel Land Systems is in the process of executing an Armscor contract that will lead to an upgrade of the South African Army’s G6s to address obsolescence.
In addition, Denel Land Systems is in the process of qualifying a new Laying and Navigation system for the SA Army that will incorporate the latest computing systems and inertial navigation mechanisms. The new system integrates seamlessly with the SA Army Artillery Target Acquisition and Tracking system, and will speed up the ability to navigate and fire accurately, Denel Land Systems said.
This system will be deployed on the SA Army G5s, G6s and Bateleur Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. The development and qualification of both projects will last about another year before the system is delivered.
The South African Army is believed to have approximately six G6s in active service and around 40 in storage, as well as over 70 G5 towed 155 mm artillery pieces, with the majority also in storage.
Various upgrades and improvements have been made over the years to the South African Army’s G6s, including powerpack upgrades, updating of the charge and ammunition system and new target acquisition and fire control system.
Denel Land Systems CEO Stephan Burger told defenceWeb artillery is a medium term growth area for Denel Land Systems, with the 155mm T5-52 Mounted Gun System the biggest focus area as it is a capable, affordable system. The 155mm G6-52 Self Propelled Gun System is also a big focus as well as G6 upgrades – a number of clients have requested upgrades for their systems.
Burger said the company is pursuing four to five opportunities on the artillery front, and even if only two of those opportunities are realised, the company will have its hands full, but he is confident three of those will be realised in the foreseeable future. Denel last year completed very successful trials of the T5-52 in Pakistan, but Burger said India also has a requirement for mounted artillery that Denel might participate in.
He said the United Arab Emirates and African countries have also expressed interest in Denel’s T5 Mounted Gun Systems. Denel’s artillery systems are currently operational in South Africa, the UAE, Oman and Malaysia.
The 105mm Light Artillery Gun, which stems from the Light Experimental Ordnance (LEO) 105 mm artillery piece, is on the backburner, and is a medium to long term opportunity – the focus at the moment is on other artillery opportunities with existing weapons. The105 mm howitzer still needs to complete its qualification, which includes the ammunition suite.
Burger said Denel gets many enquiries about the 105mm system and is looking for partners to invest in the conclusion of its development. The South African Army is contemplating the acquisition of new light artillery, and issued a request for information last year. If this project goes ahead, it may hasten 105mm Light Gun development.
The 105 mm Light Artillery Gun has the logistics footprint of a 105 mm howitzer but the range and terminal performance of a 155 mm system, with superior accuracy. Work on the 58-calibre project started during the 1990s under Project LEO, a South African Army/Armscor research and development programme.
Rheinmetall Denel Munition developed a range of munitions for the 105mm Light Artillery Gun. Boat tail rounds achieved a range of 24 km in testing, while the base bleed shells have a range of more than 30 km. The 105mm IHE PFF (Insensitive High Explosive Pre-Formed Fragmentation) projectile has recently been type classified for use in USA and NATO artillery guns.