Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Overberg Test Range (OTB) [Arniston]
3436'S 2019'E
3440'S 2014'E

A missile produced by ARMSCOR (Armaments Corporation of South Africa) was launched on 05 July 1989, and flew 900 miles southeast over the Indian Ocean. Reportedly this first test was followed by a second on 19 November 1990. The South Africa government's official statement was that the missiles were booster rockets for a peaceful space program.

The missiles were launched from a facility named Arniston [at 3440'S 2014'E] by the CIA, a town also known locally as Waenhuiskrans, but known to South Africans as the "OTB" from its Overberg test site at the southern tip of Africa. it is claimed that South Africa's Overberg missile test facility was extremely similar in layout to the Israeli missile test facility at Palmichim, suggesting that the Israelis were instrumental in the design and construction of the South African site.

OTB, a division in Denel's Business Development Group, is a well established test facility at the southernmost tip of Africa specialising in flight tests on sophisticated missile and aviation systems. With a ground area of 70 km x 14 km (43 000 ha), the flight area is more than 240 km x 55 km, with no height limitation, along with a sea area covering 70 km x 30 km. It also conducts long-range artillery tests and is qualified to provide launch services for LEO-satellites. OTB was developed as an integrated facility with the flexibility to allow multipurpose applications. Since final qualification in 1991, OTB has proved it's ability to manage and execute a large variety of flight tests, rendering invaluable quality assurance services to defence forces and the armaments industry.

Range instrumentation includes:

  • Three precision instrumentation radars with velocity measurement and off-line multi-object capability provide the primary real-time tracking capability
  • Two fixed and two mobile doppler velocity receivers with excellent accuracy and high dynamic range supply radial velocities with errors less than 3cm/sec
  • Four mobile cine theodolites (5-300 fps) and one tracking pedestal with film (25-1000 fps) and video (50Hz) capability
  • A wide range of high speed cameras (16mm, 35mm and 70mm) for photographic documentation around launch and impact areas.
  • Semi-automatic film and video readers for off-line data reduction
  • Two fixed and two mobile telemetry stations operating in S and P band for receiving of onboard measurement data. Multiple receiving PCM on FM channels, dual redundant with pre- and post detection combining and recording. Follows IRIG 106 standard. Excellent real time data manipulation and display capabilities. Quick-look and post trials processing available
  • Timing standard : Cesium clock referenced to GPS. Distribution network : IRIG-B, also IRIG-A, variety of slow codes, pulses and parallel or serial computer interfaces
  • Telecommand via IRIG-B transmission
  • Extensive command and control infra structure, including a central control centre, a mobile control centre and a central computer system that forms the heart of the Range's functionality.

ARMSCOR makes use of the Overberg Test Range, which is a multi-purpose test range and flight test centre. OTB specialises in flight tests on sophisticated missile and aviation systems. It also conducts long-range artillery tests and is qualified to provide launch services for Low Earth Orbit satellites.




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