The air force was recently widely criticized for laying off technical personnel of the Denel Aviation Division. Well, being involved in Procurement daily, my praise to whoever had the guts to terminate a mainly dormant money eating group, carried artificially by the SANDF, and finally sacked by the SA Air Force.
This is a sensitive issue, however sensitive issues cannot be ignored. As a writer, where some of my articles are placed on the News 24 page, it is pityful that just a selected few readers are always prowling around and ready to criticize, if nothing can be found to criticize, they revert to grammar and spelling.
However that will never dissuade me from the divine feeling that freedom of speech provides. This issue was begging for an opinion for so long that I had to write about it. Denel was a stone, maybe even a rock around the neck of the Government of South Africa for a long, long time ..long before the ANC Government was in the picture. Therefore if we like it or not the ANC Government inherited an institution riddled with debt and only surviving on the 20 year old nowhere going and only Rooivalk project (flagship) and others like Dassault (Cheetah ), Oryx (Puma) and a few Anti Aircraft 23mm guns(Copied from Russian 23mmx4). So we can go on and on. The SS77 was never used in training or combat, just another money eating project by Lyttleton Engineering(Denel)
In the late 1970s, South Africa was involved in an international controversy over apartheid and the South African Border War in Angola. As a result, it was subject to an international arms embargo and had to, out of necessity, design and manufacture its own weapons. The SS-77 was developed to replace the FN MAG. It was designed in 1977 by Richard Joseph Smith and Soregi, hence the name "SS-77". "SS" for Smith and Soregi, "77" for 1977, the year it was designed.
 Mini-SS Source: Wikepedia
The word that comes to mind immediately if thinking about non profitable projects being kept alive and the final product only come to light many years later after more and more testing and extended test flights is: CONSULTANTS. Usually resigned from the very firm they serve and become consultants after seeing a gap in that firm's weakness relying on so called project managers or consultants. Example: Many ex SADF officers are serving in the very Suppliers/Contractors they did business with.
My congratulations to the SA Air Force to end this money making scheme and only keep REAL scarce skills. I am going to keep this short and sweet. The Apartheid regime kept many projects alive by injecting our tax money into it to keep unnecessary huge structures in place. The R4 Assault rifle was not made by Lyttleton engineering(currently Denel) and I quote from Wikepedia" The weapon is a licenced variant of the Israeli Galil ARM assault rifle with several modifications; notably, both the stock and magazine are now made of a high-strength polymer and the stock was lengthened, adapting the weapon for the average South African soldier.
Now that is what I call nonsense. I had a Galil issued to me when I was a sergeant. The quoted Wikepedia report above, confirm a longer butt to be adapted by the average SA Soldier is a blatant piece of misinformation, South African Defence Force had 2 butts for the R4 ...a short butt and a long butt for obvious reasons. Armourers of the then SADF carried both in stock.
The movement of a project "to the right" in other words extend it past the "life end" period of the project, with reasons like" more testing is necessary", the vehicle was not adversely tested in wet muddy terrain. And so the salaries of hired consultants or project officers were continued and they had an income as long as the project is continued. The part in "Beeld" where some optimistic journalist reported that "the poor families and or inhabitants of Army living quarters(houses) now had to be evacuated" is not as sad as it is portrayed. The advantage to live basically for free in houses meant for SA Army personnel is actually a dull picture to other SANDF members without housing especially in the lower ranks.
It must be noted that during the previous regime, those so called consultants and technicians were not paid peanuts. I personally witnessed vehicle tests in the late 80's where the most important aspects were the sleepover area, and the food and beverages on board.
Forgive me but let the SANDF/Government rather procure main weapon systems like we currently do. Why spent 20 years to manufacture test, test, test, and test one helicopter if we can buy one on any world market? I can tell you why, I would like to know what Malan and his cronies paid test pilots, consultants, engineers and technical teams for 20 years on one helicopter. It is amazing how David Maynier of the DA (Shadow Minister of Defence) has short term memory loss in such cases, or rather selective memory. If the current SANDF make one wrong move he executes the rain dance in parliament with the most ridiculous information and so called "facts"
Denel was a wing of the Apartheid regime, generating work like the Cheetah, with a bad crash record just basically to a laymen like myself an Israeli Dassault/Mirage with a few wing and other changes with SADF weapon systems and avionics inside. The Upgrading of all vehicles ridiculously expensive; Maynier never said a word about that, tank transporters that already suffered severe testing in the country of origin but for consultant and project team's sake, must be tested AGAIN.
Bykans 22 jaar nadat die Cheetahs in die lug losgelaat is, is gister van dié strydrosse afskeid geneem. Getrou aan hul roemryke reputasie het die laaste vertoning ook sy merk in die geskiedenisboeke gelaat.
Ironies genoeg was daar – net soos met die jongste multimiljoenrand se wapenpakket – destyds ook groot protes oor die koste van die Cheetah-projek.
Die koste vir die 60 vliegtuie het sowat R3,5 miljard beloop. (With compliments to the MILITARYPHOTO'S.NET)
Mr David Maynier what a figure 15 years back for the development of a single aircraft? Net present value will bring us to R 20 billion. However today our current arms deal was R 70 billion for all procurement not only one aircraft type! Now why no rain dance on that one?
Well that is basically my opinion, I hope the normal standard boring group of anti government anti development anti opinion activists are not the only ones submitting comment. Biased and stereotyped, that's a killer for innovative communication.
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