South African defence company Denel Land Systems (DLS), part of the State-owned Denel group, plans to use its existing facilities to assemble the vehicle element of the South African Army’s future Badger infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).
The Badger has been selected to fulfill the army’s Project Hoefyster (Horsehoe) requirement to replace the 35 or so year old Ratel (Honey Badger) IFV. The Hoefyster programme is worth more than R8-billion.
The Badger is a combination of a South African-modified version of the Finnish Patria AMV vehicle and a South African turret, developed by DLS and designated the LCT30 (there are five versions of the turret – section, fire support coordination, anti-tank missile and mortar).
“Only the initial batch of vehicles will be imported from Finland, as part of our artisan and engineering training to build the vehicles,” explained DLS CEO Stephan Burger to Engineering News Online.
“Thereafter the vehicle manufacture will be transfered to South Africa with only some key components – for example differentials and wheel stations, whose production in South Africa is not viable due to the limited numbers involved in the Hoefyster project – supplied by Patria and the engine and gearbox commercially [sourced] off-the-shelf from local distributors.”
DLS’ standard procedure is to manufacture only strategic components and subsystems in-house, out-sourcing the manufacture of all other components and subsystems to some 100 South African companies, plus a few international suppliers. “For the Badger vehicle, we will source almost all components from local industry and assemble the vehicle locally in our existing and under-utilised facility.”
DLS has assembled vehicles in the past and has a production line available. “We are a Level Five systems house whose core capabilities include design, development, manufacture/assembly and support of complex landward mobility and firepower systems, mainly for the SANDF [South African National Defence Force] and for selected export markets,” he pointed out.