|New Defence Systems Get Unveiled
(Source: Denel Group; issued Sept. 25, 2008)
South Africa’s Denel Group showed a range of new defence products and systems for the first time at Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD2008) that took place in Cape Town last week.
Following is a brief outline of each of the systems for which more detailed information is available in the form of individual news releases with photographs.
1. Denel Land Systems: 60mm Breech Loading Long-Range Mortar
As part of its development of the New Generation Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) for the South African Army, Denel Land Systems (DLS) unveiled its unique 60mm breech-loading long-range mortar system, designated M10-BLLR, at AAD2008.
The ‘Badger’ ICV, based on the Patria platform, was also on display at the show.
The new M10 BLLR utilises the ballistic system of the renowned and proven of the DLS M6 long-range mortar.
The M10 mortar system with a range of 6000m (at sea level) is a world-first for this kind of weapon. It is also unique in respect of elevation: from -5º to +70º, which allows it to be employed in a direct fire application.
An important advantage is that it can launch most types of standard 60mm mortar bombs, although it was designed for Denel’s own long-range mortar bombs. It also features a load-assist mechanism.
2. GI-30: 30mm CamGun
Also part of the development contract for South Africa’s new generation infantry combat vehicle, Denel Land Systems (DLS) publicly showed its GI-30: 30mm CamGun for the first time.
The unique GI-30 is an externally driven electro-mechanical cannon, utilising a drum-cam to cycle the breech to chamber rounds and extract spent cartridges. This results in minimising gasses in the confines of a turret and facilitate controlled firing rate. DLS designed the GI-30 to fire link-less 30mm x 173 ammunition through a dual feeder – a world-first for this kind of weapon.
Another unique feature is that of ‘next round selection’. Having two feeders, for general ammunition and specialist types, the weapon allows the operator to select a specific round, without first firing off or ejecting an unwanted round.
3. SS77 compact general-purpose machinegun
The SS77 Compact machinegun from Denel Land Systems (DLS) is based on the trusted and proven late 1970s design - as suggested by its SS77 name.
Based on the building blocks of the fully qualified 7.62mm standard model, the new SS77 Compact is ready for series production. The weapon is highly modular in many respects. This actually allows for its conversion to a 5.56mm Compact in a matter of minutes – by using the components of the DLS 5.56mm Mini-SS.
With a shorter barrel and telescopic stock the 7.62mm weapon is now 150mm shorter and weighs only 9 kg without specialised sighting systems.
A major difference with its standard predecessor is the SS77 Compact’s natural balance. With an easily detachable telescopic butt and a pistol grip on the Picatinny rail under the barrel, the weapon has the distinct feel of an ordinary assault rifle. Unclipping the butt improves handling in confined spaces or during parachute jumps and exiting vehicles.
DLS believes the compact weapon is ideal for the modern soldier in many parts of the world – who is often light in weight and small in stature – and who is engaged in close combat in urban and jungle situations.
4. Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
The latest addition to the Denel Dynamics family of UAVs is a larger version of the proven Seeker I and II systems, with the benefit of enhanced endurance and payload capability.
Denel Dynamics increased the endurance to 16 hours, with the air vehicle ranging 250 km from its base station on direct line of sight (LOS). This range can be extended to 700 km by passing control to a tactical ground station (TGS). The UAV has a service ceiling of up to 18,000 feet.
Denel Dynamics doubled the UAV’s payload from that of the Seeker II to an impressive 100 kg (excluding fuel). It accommodates a dual payload, namely electro-optic payloads of up to 530 mm and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Typically the gimbal could contain a combination of sensors, including colour daylight camera with zoom, infrared thermal imager, day or night spotter camera, laser rangefinder and illuminator, plus the SAR.
Like its smaller predecessor, the Seeker 400 is a modular, all composite design with low drag. It has a highly efficient engine with large fuel capacity to give the UAV the added endurance and extended service intervals.
5. 20mm Neopup and ammunition
Although unveiled two years ago, the unique 20mm Neopup personal area weapon and its ammunition showed significant progress.
Denel PMP and Gemaco Elbree exhibited the completed range of unique 20 x 42mm calibre rounds that includes Prac, HEI, SAPHEI, with Tracer, and APC, along with the improved weapon.
The Neopup is