A production contract for the Badger infantry fighting vehicle for the South African National Defence Force has been approved and is currently with Armscor, which will send it out to industry.
According to Dr Sam Gulube, Secretary for Defence, the Badger production contract under Project Hoefyster was approved in February this year. He said he hoped to see the first production Badger vehicle roll off the assembly line by the end of 2013 and the last in 2023.
Up until recently the programme was in the development phase. Gulube said the approval of the production phase, worth R8 billion over the next ten years, had been taken to Armscor. “Right now Armscor is contracting production and ensuring local production etc. I don’t know where they are today,” he told journalists last week.
The production order is believed to be for 264 vehicles, to be placed with prime contractor Denel Land Systems (DLS), which sees it as a make or break contract for the company, as two thirds of its energy is directed towards this programme.
DLS is concurrently developing five different variants of the Badger infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). Project Hoefyster is utilising five modular combat turret variants, armed with the home-grown GI-30 (30 mm CamGun) and 60 mm breech-loading long-range mortar system. The Ingwe anti-tank missile system is integrated into the anti-tank variant of the 8×8 armoured modular vehicle platforms.
The industrialisation and production of the Badger will be done in South Africa, creating an estimated 2 000 jobs and benefiting more than 100 subcontractors in the supply chain. It will also see the South African Army gain a replacement for its rapidly ageing Ratel infantry combat vehicles.
Hoefyster has led to spinoffs, the most important of which is a contract from Malaysia for turrets. In July last year it was announced that Malaysia had signed a 343 million euro (R3.5 billion) contract for turrets and weapons to be integrated onto their 8×8 armoured vehicles. This includes 69 x two man turrets fitted with the South African GI30 30mm main gun and 54 x missile turrets equipped with the GI30 30mm gun and Denel Dynamics Ingwe anti-tank missile system. The order also includes the supply of 216 laser-guided Ingwe missiles and 54 x remote control weapons systems. This contract would not have been possible without Hoefyster.
The Malaysian turret deal means six years of work on this project for DLS. Malaysia ordered 257 FNSS/Deftech AV-8 8×8 armoured vehicles, to be manufactured by Deftech of Malaysia, which will be fitted with the Denel turrets.