First Vehicles Now Scheduled for Delivery in 2022
Troubled Denel Land Systems can have taken little comfort last week from a statement by the Chief of the South African Army that “extreme further delays” in deliveries of the BADGER infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) are “not justifiable by any means.”
During a media briefing in Pretoria, Lt Gen Lindile Yam explained that he (and the Command Council) are “very unhappy with [the] delays that have gone [on] with Hoefyster” – referring to the programme to replace the Army’s RATEL 6×6 armoured personnel carriers with the BADGER, based on Patria’s 8×8 AMV design but manufactured in South Africa by Denel.
Having won a contract in September 2013 to provide 244 BADGERs to the South African Army, Denel Land Systems – which oversees the local manufacture, assembly and integration of over 70% local content into the vehicles – has been plagued by commercial, structural, financial and managerial issues. Delays occurred to the programme occasioned not only by the firm’s financial stability but also by software and technical challenges in finagling developmental models of the mortar, missile and fire support variants. An additional problem stems from the deteriorating exchange rate of the rand, making the vehicle significantly more expensive to produce.
After a series of delays, delivery of the first vehicles was anticipated for earlier this year – but that is now no longer the case: Gen Yam indicated that he expects the first vehicles to be delivered no earlier than 2022. However, the Army Command Council remains publicly committed to accomplishing at least Phase One of Hoefyster (‘Horseshoe’ in Afrikaans) rather than writing it off and starting anew. The Army also remains committed to Project Palana, which seeks to replace the service’s SAMIL logistics vehicles. At the time of writing, Armscor was examining a number of responses to a Request for Information published last December.