It’s been over 10 years in the making but the SA Army’s air defence component can at last boast new high-tech equipment.
The ground-based air defence system (GBADS) first became public knowledge at the 2002 Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition when Armscor announced it was entering into negotiations with Denel for this landward defence component.
Last year saw evaluation and testing of GBADs at AFB Swartkop followed by training of operators at 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment in Kimberley and a final round of testing at the SA Army Combat Training Centre in Northern Cape.
“The Army is now taking the new equipment into inventory to initiate the commissioning phase. This will take the GBADS system to operational readiness,” Ralph Mills, chief executive of Denel Integrated Systems Solutions (DISS) said.
This follows all contractual hardware delivery requirements.
DISS was set up solely to support the SA National Defence Force in acquiring GBADS, under Project Guardian.
10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment is part of the Army’s Air Defence Artillery Formation and will be responsible for GBADS deployment.
Mills said he was “proud” of the DISS team for reaching this milestone in Project Guardian.
“System integration skills have been identified as a key strategic capability for South Africa and in DISS we now have the basis to build on these crucial skills. Alongside the system engineering discipline it can contribute to many areas in society and it is critical a start be made on developing human capital to be ready for the programmes of the future,” he said.
DISS is already working toward developing young system engineers with training and mentoring by DISS engineers underway.