Fighting vehicle project showcases country's young talent
Denel’s HOEFYSTER project to supply infantry combat vehicles to the South African Army is creating major opportunities for young engineers and artisans to gain experience on one of the country’s largest ever defence contracts.
Danie du Toit, the Group CEO of Denel says HOEFYSTER will not only rejuvenate the Army’s combat vehicle capabilities but also demonstrate the ability of the local defence industry to manufacture world-class products and systems.
“We are especially proud of the way in which we are integrating the skills and energy of a new generation of engineers at Denel with the experience and know-how of professionals who have worked on this project since its inception,” he says.
In terms of the contract, Denel Landward is responsible for the delivery of five infantry fighting variants and four support variants as well as ammunition, training simulators and an integrated logistic support system.
Among the lead participants in the project is 38-year old Renata Westmacott, who hails from Eldorado Park and joined Denel five years ago after obtaining a B Eng degree from the University of Johannesburg.
Her responsibility is to provide system engineering and development support to all Badger variants as well as technical support during the industrialisation and production phases.
Du Toit says the development phase of the section variant of the vehicle is nearing completion. A product base line will be established before the end of 2019 leading into the next stage of industrialisation and production.
Nkabe Motjale, a mechanical engineer, has been with Denel Landward for five years. The 31-year old from Ficksburg in the Free State is responsible for the design and integration of platform-related components.
36-year old Lyzander Prinsloo, a structures and mechanism designer from Port Elizabeth, looks after the integration of all subsystem mechanical hardware on the Badger. The former student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has been with Denel for six years.
Shale Modiba, a software engineer who graduated from the University of Pretoria, is responsible for the software development and qualification on the vehicle. One of the distinguishing features of the vehicle is its turret design and the integration of its 60mm breech-loaded long range mortar gun and Ingwe missiles into the system.
Denel’s success in the development of the Badger contributed to the signing of a major export contract with Malaysia to deliver similar infantry fighting turrets to its defence force.
Charl Theron completed his degree in mechanical engineering with a Denel bursary and has been working on the project for the last seven years. His responsibility is to ensure that the product system meets its performance and functional requirements.
Du Toit says Project HOEFYSTER showcases the value that Denel can add to the South African defence community and the broader engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors.