“Problems” with Badger – SA Army Chief

SA Army boss, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, this week acknowledged there are “problems” with Badger, the new infantry fighting vehicle that will replace the ageing Ratel. “There are serious delays,” he told a media briefing in Thaba Tshwane this week without elaborating. He added those responsible for acquisition in the landward force “are working with Denel (presumably Denel Land Systems) in search of a solution”. Yam’s admission comes just on four weeks after Denel Group chief financial officer, Odwa Mhlwana, said “major programmes (at the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate) are behind schedule”. He was speaking at Denel’s presentation of its financial results for the current financial year. This means the landward force cannot look forward to receiving the first 88 of 242 Badgers in May 2019 as stated by DLS chief executive, Stephan Burger, in June. Burger said at the time 15 Badgers have been produced and technology transfer from Finland to South Africa as part of Project Hoefyster was complete. The first eight Badger turrets are being assembled with four in an advanced stage of assembly by DLS. The plan for the current financial year is to produce 59 turrets and deliver 20 completed systems. Delivery of all 242 Badgers is set to conclude in 2022.

Yam’s comment this week has put a question mark over delivery of the first 20 units. The three star general did not elaborate on problems with any specific variants of the Infantry Formation’s new fighting vehicle. The variants are: section with 30 mm CamGun; Mortar with a 60 mm, six km locally developed range breech-loading mortar; fire support with 30 mm CamGun; anti-tank with Ingwe missiles and Command enabling Command and Control at company level.

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