Saab enabling and securing Africa across borders

Saab AB and Saab Grintek Defence are renowned for hi-tech military and civilian defence and security solutions, but on-going projects on behalf of the British Army, the South African National Defence Force and multilateral organisations showcase their engineering, project management and logistical strengths.

The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) has recently been enhanced due to Saab’s lending a helping hand to the British soldiers who are training in Kenya before deployment into conflict areas around the world.

The British Army recently awarded a contract to Saab for the provision of its Deployable Tactical Engagement Simulation (DTES) system to its Training Facility in Kenya, which provides sophisticated After Action Review and analysis capabilities to battle groups. This equipment is punted as the latest-generation, deployable Tactical Engagement Simulation system, configured to support a light-role battle group with an opposing force (OPFOR) and a civilian population.

Saab will provide the DTES service for five training periods each year with an option for two additional ones, with 98 per cent availability. Brian Drummond, the manager of the Saab base site in Nanyuki who is responsible for all logistic support and maintenance, says they have achieved an average 99.7 per cent availability rate by maintaining a buffer stock of equipment at the base site, having forward-deployed technicians from Saab in Sweden and Saab Grintek Defence in South Africa. Importantly it is providing skills transfer by training some of the locally employed staff in first-line maintenance while equipment that requires major repair is returned to Sweden.

As part of the DTES system, Saab has also been issuing the soldiers with specialised gear in the line of its Personnel Detection Device (PDD). This device consists of a laser-detector vest, which Saab designed in close co-operation with the army to ensure it works with the UK webbing system and can be integrated into the individual’s belt kit. Incorporated into the vest are GPS, communications with a tracking system and a link to the laser small arms transmitter (SAT). According to Saab, the success of this venture is attracting considerable interest from other nations.

Lately, Saab has also assisted peace-keeping missions in Africa for both the African Union and the United Nations. Examples include extensive MRO (Maintainance, Repair and Overhaul) activities for vehicles, generators, water purification plants, air-conditioning units and patrol boats. One mission has also seen Saab setting up a complete turn-key camp solution in the horn of Africa. In the same multilateral environments, Saab successfully provides EOD (Explosive Ordance Disposal) products in East and West Africa for training of and for safe UXO (Unexploded Ordance) and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) destruction purposes.

Closer to home, Saab has been involved in Operation Corona, a South African Defence Force (SANDF) initiative which necessitates army training camps along the northern and eastern border between South Africa and Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Operation Corona has been initiated for safeguarding South Africa’s borders and helping state agencies reduce and curb trans-border crime.

Saab is currently engaged in upgrading operational base facilities for the SANDF, following the re-launch late in 2012 of the upgraded and expanded Operational Base Madimbo. This base, east of Musina near the Zimbabwe border, is the first of a number to be modernised and improved since the SANDF assumed responsibility for border security.

Operational Base Madimbo includes a command centre, airstrip, a parade ground, water purification facilities, and new medical and two way radio battery charging facilities. Roads, the electrical supply, and sewerage systems, and a vehicle wash bay with oil and water separators were upgraded, while new messes with enlarged kitchen, laundry and recreation facilities were installed. It also includes a new military police facility.

Saab is involved in developing the infrastructure of several additional border camps on behalf of the SANDF.

“Be it lending technological support to the British Army in Kenya or providing logistics and infrastructure to the SANDF, we are extremely pleased, as Saab South Africa, that our contribution is assisting defence forces fulfil their mandates.,” comments Magnus Lewis-Olsson, CEO of Saab Grintek Defence.