The Armaments Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited (Armscor) is an acquisition agency for the South African Department of Defence. Its mandate is to provide armed forces with the state-of-the-art defence matériel required to deliver safety and security to South Africa, its citizens and the continent. The organisation plays an important role in supplying the national defence force with proper resources to execute their duties efficiently and effectively.
Armscor has extensive experience in product development, technology development, enhancement, sustainment and disposal of products. The organisation has world-class facilities that can be used by both local and international clients to test and evaluate the performance of their defence and security-related products. It prides itself on maintaining high-quality international standards through rigorous testing and evaluation processes on all its technology-management projects.
One of Armscor’s core businesses is research and development (R&D). The R&D unit provides scientific research, test and evaluation services and technology management, analysis and innovation-management services. The organisation has capability to perform independent, centralised co-ordination and management roles for technology acquisition and technology commercialisation.
Armscor is geared towards providing unmatched sustainable defence solutions to all its clients and potential clients across the African continent and globally. Recent successes have seen the conversion of some of these traditional defence technologies in application and use in a myriad of other industries and situations, affirming Armscor’s ability to remain relevant and in the forefront of an ever-changing world.
Some of Armscor’s research and development facilities include the following defence science and technology institutes, and test and evaluation facilities.
DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTES
Institute for Maritime Technology
The Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT) located in Simon’s Town, Cape Town, specialises in defence research, development, testing and evaluation of maritime systems. The division plays a key role in developing and maintaining a sustainable technology capability for providing technomilitary expertise in support of naval decision-making. IMT also has capacity to provide services to the broader maritime community and other clients as part of its commercial initiatives. Some of its specialities include above-water sensors, underwater sensors systems and applied sciences.
This is where biomedical studies focusing on characterisation and identification techniques for biological warfare agents are undertaken.
It is an applied chemistry/biochemistry facility with the primary focus on chemical and biological defence R&D. Specialised fields of research include:
- Warning and identification of trace amounts of hazardous chemicals
- Protection of personnel in chemically hazardous environments (respiratory, body and collective protection)
- Decontamination/detoxification of chemical/biological agents
- Synthesis of test compounds and chemical verification standards in support of commitments to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Armscor is recognised as a leader in ergonomics research, both locally and internationally. Through its facility, Ergonomics Technologies (ERGOTECH), which is based in Centurion, Gauteng, Armscor provides a comprehensive range of services in ergonomics (human factors) and occupational health and safety to the South African National Defence Force and commercial clients. The services offered focus on three interlinked domains, namely research and databases; design and specification; and test and evaluation. ERGOTECH adopts a holistic approach focused on the application of its capabilities to provide human-centred solutions that optimise human performance and efficiency.
Hazmat Protective Systems
Hazmat, also situated in Centurion, manufactures and markets a comprehensive range of filter cartridges, canisters, half- and full-face masks to protect individuals against respiratory health hazards. It also manufactures impregnated activated carbon, which is used as one of the primary filter materials in the manufacture of air-purifying respiratory filters. Hazmat has a state-of-the-art carbon impregnation plant that provides it with a competitive advantage in the manufacturing of respiratory filters. These products are suitable for both the military and commercial sectors.
TEST AND EVALUATION FACILITIES
Alkantpan Test Range
The Alkantpan Test Range is located about 70 km outside of Prieska in the Northern Cape, in a small town called Copperton. This facility is a one-stop shop for clients who want to test and evaluate their weapons and ammunition. It has six test sites and a demolition zone that can accommodate various sizes of weapons and ammunition. The range, which is about 67 km in length and 15 km wide, is located in a sparsely populated semi-desert area. Alkantpan offers much more than just ballistic-test services. From the landing strip, ammunition assembly and firing sites to the end results of test analyses, all is possible at Alkantpan.
Gerotek Test Facility
This facility is located about 20 km west of Pretoria, in the Gauteng province. Gerotek enables clients to test and evaluate the performance of vehicles in terms of speed, braking, fuel consumption, acceleration and power output. Mobility tests are conducted to measure off-road mobility, step climbing, gradient ability and ditch crossing. Furthermore, homologation tests are conducted to determine centre of gravity, speedometer calibration, stationary noise and braking performance. These state-of-the-art tracks are able to determine both endurance and reliability of vehicles, irrespective of size.
A wide range of test measurements such as strain, temperature, vibration, pressure and displacement can be supported from the instrumentation to data processing phases. Advanced driver training as well as corporate events, restaurant and conference facilities are also offered.