A joint venture (JV) company created by South Africa’s Denel defence industrial group and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) group, Tawazun, has won a R5-billion contract for precision guided munition (PGM) systems for the UAE Air Force. The JV is Tawazun Dynamics and it is based in the UAE, where it has a fully modern manufacturing facility, which was opened last year. Denel has a 49% share in Tawazun Dynamics.
Separately, Denel Land Systems (DLS) CEO Stephan Burger has hailed the contract for the Badger infantry fighting vehicle for the South African Army (under Project Hoefyster) as “really the most significant defence contract ever signed with a South African defence company”.
The Tawazun Dynamics deal was announced at the Dubai Air Show last week. It will see the integration of the Al Tariq PGM on Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighters of the UAE Air Force. The Al Tariq could later be integrated with other aircraft as well.
“The new contract also confirms the wisdom of Denel’s strategic decision to enter into an international long-term partnership with Tawazun,” affirmed Denel group CEO Riaz Saloojee. “It strengthens our global profile and opens new markets for Denel’s growing range of defence and security-related products and services.”
He pointed out that the UAE Air Force order showed that Denel was able to design world-class PGMs and missiles. In its press release, the South African company stated that integrating the Al Tariq with the Mirage 2000-9 marked “an important milestone for both Denel and Tawazun”.
The Al Tariq is actually a family of strap-on bomb kits, which turn the bombs into PGMs and extend their range. Al Tariq PGMs have a range of up to 100 km and can be used against both strategic and tactical targets.
The weapons system recently concluded a successful series of tests, against both station-ary and moving targets. The Al Tariq systems achieved an accuracy greater than 1.5 m. The PGM steers itself using an inertial navigation system which is augmented by an advanced satellite navigation system. This allows the weapon to be used by both day and night and in all types of weather.
Regarding the Badger, “[t]hrough this programme, Denel makes another decisive contribution to meeting the country’s industrial objectives”, affirmed Burger. These include advanced manufacturing, job creation, skills development, and the earning of foreign currency through export orders.
DLS is currently ramping up to execute the Badger contract. “It’s a huge contract,” he observed. The Badger is a South African development of the Finnish Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle. The Badger’s turret has been totally designed and developed by DLS. In addition, DLS increased the vehicle’s resistance to land mines and improvised explosive devices, without reducing its mobility.
The Badger is a complete armoured vehicle system and the South African Army will acquire five variants (although more variants can be developed). These are the section variant (which will carry an infantry section), the fire support variant, the mortar variant, the missile variant and the command variant. The Badger combines mobility with firepower and protection.
The section and fire support versions are both fitted with a new 30 mm cannon, also developed by DLS. It fires from a closed breech, which is unique for this calibre. The mortar version is armed with a locally developed 60 mm water-cooled breech-loading mortar, which has a high rate of fire. It is also unique in its calibre.
“This division of Denel – DLS – is a design house, assembly plant and manufacturer of key systems, like gun barrels,” explained Burger. “All else is contracted out to South African industry.” The Badger programme will create 200 direct jobs at DLS and at least 2 000 more in other local companies.