On Target: Lobsight technology, by South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, is intended to improve the accuracy of weapons used in indirect fire. CSIR has teamed with National Defence University of Malaysia for research on a range of radar and sensor technologies. (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research)
BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE — Scientists from South Africa and Malaysia will collaborate on the research and development (R&D) of advanced radar and sensor technologies, and electronic and network-centric warfare systems, over 10 years starting in 2016.
The agreement was struck during the Defence Services Asia show in Kuala Lumpur last month. The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM) signed a memorandum of agreement that paves the way for the establishment in Malaysia of a joint Centre of Excellence for Advanced Defence Technologies, specializing in radar and sensor technologies.
The signing of the agreement represents a deepening of bilateral defense business and diplomatic relations between South Africa and Malaysia.
This is the second major deal between the two countries this year; it follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Denel Aerostructures and Strand Aerospace Malaysia to pave the way for collaboration in defense aerospace systems.
Speaking after the signing ceremony in Malaysia, NDUM’s vice chancellor, Gen. Tan Sri Dato Seri Panglima Haji Zulkifli bin Haji Zainal Abidin, said collaborating with the South African institution will help Malaysia develop the capacity to produce defense gear and meet its own demand for modern electronic warfare systems.
“This collaboration will support national capability development in Malaysia in the areas of radar and sensors, electronic warfare and network-centric warfare through the platform of NDUM,” Tan said.
“NDUM is honored to work with the CSIR, which is internationally recognized as a research-and-development organization with expertise in the fields of defense and security,” he said. “We are confident that this strategic partnership will lead to other spinoffs in the defense and security services sector.”
Laurens Cloete, CSIR’s executive director, said the institutions will collaborate on establishing new capabilities in the design and development of advanced defense subsystems and systems while undertaking challenging projects expected to deliver results for stakeholders in both countries.
“The CSIR has a long track record in radar and optronic sensor and electronic warfare,” Cloete said. “We want it to be the seed around which a critical mass of R&D capability and high-level skills will be built. International collaboration such as this demonstrates South African capability, and benefits the local R&D community by ensuring we remain competitive on the international stage.”
He said the center will initiate and perform flagship technology demonstrator programs. It also aims to attract, develop and retain R&D professionals in the field of advanced applications-oriented defense engineering.
Research into radar and sensor technology will focus on imaging and related technologies, such as target identification; advanced search and track; beam steering and active-phased array research; synthetic aperture radars; persistent wide-area surveillance on land, sea and air targets; and software modeling and simulation.
According to South African media reports, the key priority areas in advanced electronic warfare systems are electronic self-protection; static or dynamic target signature measurement; electronic support measures; and instrumentation for electronic warfare ranges for measurement and evaluation.
The signing of the Denel-Strand MoU marked the beginning of offset arrangements for the deal, under which Denel Land Systems is contracted to supply turrets for Malaysia’s armored infantry fighting vehicles.
The Malaysia tie-up is the second international deal for CSIR after the November signing of a licensing agreement for the rollout of its laser-cladding technology with US-based FW Gartner Thermal Spraying.
CSIR Senior Commercialization Manager Brian Mphahlele said the US deal offers a unique opportunity for the introduction of a South African technology with significant industrial potential in the Americas and Australia. ■