GBADS progress – slow but sure


According to the latest Armscor annual report, the first phase of the SA army’s long awaited ground-based air defence systems (GBADS) – the local warning segment (LWS) – has been delivered to the Air Defence Artillery Formation in Kimberley and is operational.

Phase two of the programme is in two steps, the first is the upgrade of the gun fire control systems (GFCS) of the 35mm anti-aircraft guns currently in service with the Formation. The upgrade will provide a radar-guided, autonomous gun fire capability which, Armscor states, will “significantly enhance operational capability”.

In the 2016/17 financial year a further 10 35mm guns (Mk5A and Mk7) were locally upgraded and accepted. The final three radar sensor units and three gun fire control posts were delivered and integrated onto both gun variants.
“Successful operational test and evaluation was conducted at the Alkantpan and Overberg test ranges. Two complete gun fire units, with both gun configurations and ammunition, destroyed all aerial test targets during live firing by trained Air Defence Artillery Formation members.
“Excellent progress has been made toward delivery of five autonomous gun fire units with carrier vehicles and an upgraded mobile support capability by the end of 2018.”

Phase three of the GBADS programme addresses the battle management, command and control, communications, computers and information (BMC4I) integration within the Mobile Air Defence System (MobADS) Regiment and to higher order users.
“The project,” according to the report, “is currently performing the system study with the objectives to establish an allocated baseline and have a development plan approved in the 2017/18 financial year”.

On the new generation tactical communication system, Armscor notes the project addresses acquisition of “a complete new generation, tactical communication system” for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). It will fill the tactical communication requirement of all four services and ensure full inter-operability between users, no matter which service they are.

The system has state-of-the-art transmission and information security, incorporating semi real-time data link performance and digital voice communication.

Developments of various elements have been completed and will result in the first tactical communications system in the world providing complete inter-operability between all battlefield elements without using gateways or protocol convertors, according to the report.

Operational test and evaluation is planned for the current calendar year.