The SA Army’s “heavy metal” in the form of Ratel, Rooikat and Olifant are brought back to operational service in the A-vehicle repair section of Army Support Base (ASB), Bloemfontein, proving support can and is being provided locally to keep the armoured fighting vehicles serviceable.
On a visit to units in and around the Free State capital, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Army Support Formation, Major General Mzikayise Joseph Tyhalisi, praised those responsible, saying the accomplishment is in line with the support concept proving the national defence force can be self-sufficient. The maintenance and repair now done in-house was previously outsourced.
An example of the proficiency of the repair section comes from it reworking 420 components in the 12 months of last year. To date this year, 500 components have been repaired and are ready for collection.
According to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), WO Class 2 David Robert Noel Haupt and his team are the masterminds behind the success. Their tearoom disappeared, changed into a workshop fitted with all the necessary equipment.
Faulty electronic parts, especially circuit boards from the Olifant Mark 1 tank, are removed and all components tested with a fault diagnostic test unit to establish where and what must be replaced or repaired. The workshop can fix from the smallest component like resistors, transistors, diodes, inductors or problem circuit boards. Repaired circuit boards are assembled and stored at 1 SA Tank Regiment technical stores.
At the actual A-vehicle workshop, armoured vehicles enter and are stripped to ground level for repairs, and tested with a power pack test unit for engine, gearbox, cooling pack and transfer box elements. This system enables fitters to repair, replace and test accessible parts before the vehicle is released in fully serviceable state.