Denel & Patria Building South Africa’s Next IFVMay 24, 2007 03:28 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
DID has covered a number of contracts for wheeled armored personnel carriers; in Europe, the 3 perennial combatants are GD-MOWAG’s Piranha/LAV, GD-Steyr’s Pandur II, and Patria’s Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV). Now Denel Land Systems has announced a contract from the South African government’s Armscor procurement agency to develop the South African Army’s new generation infantry combat vehicle. The “Hoefyster” program aims to produce an 8×8 wheeled APC in the 25 ton class, designed as a family of vehicles that can be equipped with various turrets and on-board options.
The Rand 8.3 billion contract (R 1 billion currently = about $145 million) for 264 vehicles may be the largest single contract Denel has landed in its 16-year history, and South African companies will deliver more than 70% of the total value of the contract. The other 30% will be delivered by Finland’s Patria Oyj, whose amphibious AMV will be Project Hoefyster’s base vehicle – but our South African readers inform us that it won’t be replacing the wheeled Rooikat tank-destroyers…
Hoefyster and the South African Army
When it announced its Slovenian APC competition win in December 2006, Patria’s release touted its AMV platform as “…first of its kind in the world with the unique level of mine protection certified by South African authorities.” The certification effort appears to be paying off.
The new generation infantry combat vehicle is meant to slot into the SA Army’s Vision 2020, announced earlier this year by Chief of the SA Army, Lt-Gen. Solly Shoke. Within the SANDF a mechanised division, a motorized division, and a Special Operations Brigade are planned as key customers for the new infantry fighting vehicle. The new motorised division is slated for peacekeeping abroad and local security operations at home within South Africa, while the mechanized division will include a mix of South Africa’s Olifant tanks, IFVs, et. al. as the SANDF’s strike force.
South African land forces have historically used far more wheeled vehicles than tracked armor, in large part because of the suitability of their regional terrain. This focus, coupled with a security environment of guerrilla warfare with heavy use of land mines, led South African firms to develop mine-resistant wheeled vehicles over 30 years ago. South African designers pioneering the “armored wheeled v-hull” concept that has suddenly received serious attention and procurement dollars from the US military. Even today, South Africa’s mobile howitzers (the world-class G6 Rhino), armored fighting vehicle/ tank destroyer (the 28-ton, 8×8 Rooikat) and the armored personnel carrier that the new Hoefyster will partly replace (Ratel – BAE now markets the upgraded iKlwa), are all wheeled.
The Hoefyster Program
Denel will be the design agency for Project Hoefyster, with responsibility for the turret, communications/ C4ISR, and weapons system integration. Denel will also be the prime contractor, and is required to manage a supply chain that will include large firms like mine-resistant vehicle manufacturer BAE Land Systems OMC, as well as scores of local subcontractors; this will include targets for small-medium enterprises and black-owned businesses.
Vehicles will be built under a Patria license, and the program currently envisions 264 vehicles in 5 variants: Infantry Carrier, Command, Mortar (integrated into the turret), Missile (firing the laser-guided, dual-warhead Ingwe anti-armor missile), and Fire Support vehicles. At least one variant will have a 30mmm autocannon turret, which may well be Denel’s forthcoming LCT-30. Denel Munitions will supply the ammunition and mortar bombs for all of the variants.
Armscor plans to place phased orders over a 10-year period as key milestones are achieved, with follow-on support work after delivery. The first vehicles will be manufactured in Finland, after which the production will gradually be transferred to South Africa.
Patria has extensive co-operation agreements with South African companies. In addition to Denel, Patria works closely with Land Mobility Technologies (Pty) Ltd concerning vehicle and logistic engineering, and BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (Pty) Ltd concerning serial production and life cycle support.
Denel CEO Shaun Liebenberg, who has been overseeing the firm’s attempted turnaround, said:
“This Armscor contract puts Denel Land Systems on the road to sustainability. Project ‘Hoefyster’ signifies a significant acquisition programme that essentially underwrites all the pillars of Denel’s macro strategy. Not only does this large defence contract support and give a much-needed injection to local industry, but it also sustains the commercial viability of the businesses, notably Denel Land Systems. Importantly, it will drive the capability of the Denel and other local companies to operate at world-class standards and international best practice.”
As with the A-Darter missile program, Denel is looking to use Project Hoefyster as a catalyst for hiring young engineers and building up their skills base. This concept is very much part of the Deputy President’s Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) program, but unless managed carefully and/or supplemented with outside assistance, too much focus in this area can lead to project time and cost overruns.
The selection of a proven base platform (Patria’s AMV) is a good start, but SANDF’s budget is not unlimited. The implicit tug-of war between the project requirements and the political requirements will require finesse and good management on Denel’s part in order to succeed.
Contracts and Key Events
June 16/08: Curtiss-Wright Corporation announces a $39 million phased contract from Denel Land Systems to supply drive and actuation systems for use in Hoefyster ICVs. Development of the systems is scheduled to start in 2008, with production scheduled to run from 2011 to 2018.
Curtiss-Wright’s Motion Control segment will supply the ICV’s turret drive system, as well as the actuation systems for the mortar and missile launcher. Curtiss-Wright will develop and manufacture the initial drive and actuation systems for all variants of the ICV at the company’s facility in Neuhausen, Switzerland. Manufacturing will be localized during the series production phase in support of the industrial participation programs of Armscor and the Department of Trade and Industry.
May 28/07: Patria announces that it has signed the contract with Denel Land Systems.
May 17/07: The Hoefyster program is announced, as a partnership between Denel and Patria AMV. Denel signs the contract with South Africa’s Armscor, and its release is titled “Denel Lands Biggest Contract In Its History.” See also Patria release.
- Denel Dynamics (July 25/07) – FY 2007 results. includes a more precise figure for the “Hoefyster” program.
- Patria Oyj (May 21/07) – Patria AMV platforms selected in South Africa
- Patria Oyj – AMV: Armored Modular Vehicle. Patria Oyj is 75% owned by the Finnish government, and 25% owned by EADS.
- Army Technology – Patria AMV (Armoured Modular Vehicle) 8×8 Wheeled Vehicle, Finland
- GlobalSecurity.org – Ratel
- BAE Land Systems OMC – iKlwa. iKlwa was the name of the Zulus’ famous short, stabbing spear, which was used in conjunction with heavy shields in a manner that resembled Greek hoplite tactics but added innovations like “horns of the bull” maneuvers.
- Military.com SoldierTech – ROLLING THUNDER: The Rooikat
- Army Technology – Rooikat 105 Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles, South Africa
Thanks to DID’s South African readers, who pointed out that the new Hoefyster will partly replace Ratel vehicles rather than 28-ton, 8×8 Rooikats. They add that Rooikats are likely to remain in service for some time, as there are no defined plans to replace them. Our readers believe they may eventually be upgraded with a Compact Vehicle Electric Drive (CVED) hybrid electric drive system that Armscor has been working on for some years. Others see eventual replacement by an up-gunned AMV variant with the CVED installed. Time will tell.