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Hoefyster (Horseshoe) / Badger

Denel Land Systems designed and manufactured the Badger to meet the requirements of a modern army involved in both high-intensity warfare and peace-keeping operations. The Modular Combat Vehicle (MCV) is a platform originally developed by the Finnish defence contractor Patria, and has subsequently been optimised by Denel Land Systems in order to meet the specific needs of the South African Army. This localised vehicle inclusive of turret variants is called Badger as part of Armscor’s Project Hoefyster that seeks to replace the 30 year old Ratel Infantry Combat Vehicle in its mechanised infantry units.

Hoefyster [English word for the Afrikaans word hoefyster is horseshoe] was registered as a project in 1997. Rumors regarding the demise of the program circulated for years, driven by a lack of news on the project and apparently interminable delays.

Early reports speculated that the MOWAG Piranha IV was a shoo-in for the deal, as OMC had then just been bought out by Vickers Defence Systems – a British concern – that had licensing rights to the Piranha IV. Counter-speculation at the time favoured the Piranha III, currently in use by the US Army as the Stryker basis for the armored personnel carrier (APC).

The Request for Proposals (RfP), reference number MFT/2003/564, asked eight South African companies and four international defence contractors to put forward ideas and quotes by February 25, 2005. Domestic companies asked to tender were state arms manufacturer Denel as well as private companies LMT, Benoni-based OMC, IST Dynamics, Industrial and Automotive Design SA, MDB, Advanced Technologies & Engineering of Midrand, Grintron and Intertechnic. The four overseas contractors approached were GIAT Industries of France, Mowag Motorwagenfabrik AG of Switzerland and the pan-European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company (EADS).

In February 2005, when the bids were due, only one was received, from a consortium involving Patria of Finland, Patria's part-owner, EADS, Denel, OMC and Land Mobility Technologies (LMT). The vehicle the group proposed was Patria's 8x8 Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV), as redesigned for southern African conditions by LMT. The vehicle hulls were to be built by OMC and the turrets as well as guns would be provided by Denel.

Denel Land Systems [DLS] was contracted in May 2007 to supply the vehicle in five variants: section carrier, command, mortar, support and anti-tank. A R1 048 billion order to develop a prototype of each was awarded later that same month. One of each underwent evaluation. Once accepted by the military, 12 pre-production vehicles will be built. The first 37 production vehicles will be built by Patria in Finland.

The Army in October 2010 awarded DLS at Lyttelton in Pretoria a further R9.9 million to continue the development of the Badger infantry combat vehicle (ICV) products system under Project Hoefyster. "Hoefyster project has not been shelved," the ministry said in a written answer to a Parliamentary question by Congress of the People MP DB Veldman. "In accordance with the contract, Denel Land Systems (DLS) is still implementing the Development Phase of the contract," the ministry added. "The Department of Defence will make the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Industrialisation and Production Phase before the end of 2010/11."

In 2013 the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, approved the production phase of “Project Hoefyster” for 238 “Badger” infantry combat vehicles, over a period of ten years, for the Defence Force. The production phase of the project was approved following the development phase of the “Badger” infantry combat vehicle, which was completed in 2010 and cost R1.3 billion. The estimated cost of the development and production of the 238 “Badger” infantry combat vehicles could be more than R10 billion. This means that each “Badger” infantry combat vehicle could cost approximately R42.5 million. In the end, the R10 billion estimated cost of the 238 “Badger” infantry combat vehicles is probably a conservative estimate.

These figures were derived as follows:

  • Assuming the production cost of 264 “Badger” infantry combat vehicles was R8 400 000 000 in 2011 as set out in Denel’s 2012 annual report;
  • Adjusting the production cost of the 264 “Badger” infantry combat vehicles for inflation, using official inflation rates, to R9 767 197 440;
  • Calculating the unit cost of a “Badger” infantry fighting vehicle, by dividing R 9 767 197 440 by 264, to arrive at a unit cost of R 36 996 960;
  • Calculating the cost of 238 “Badger” infantry combat vehicles, by multiplying the unit cost of R36 996 960 by 238, to arrive at total estimated production cost of R 8 805 276 480;
  • Adding the development cost of R 1 300 000 000 to the estimated production cost of R 8 805 276 480 to arrive at a total estimated contract cost of R10 105 276 480; and finally
  • Calculating the unit cost of a “Badger” infantry combat vehicle by dividing R10 105 276 480 by 238, to arrive at an estimated unit cost of R 42 459 144.

The “Badger” infantry combat vehicles will be produced by Denel, working in conjunction with a Finnish company, Patria, and will replace the 30-year old Ratel infantry combat vehicles, currently used by the Defence Force. More than 2 000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of “Project Hoefyster”.

Riaz Saloojee, Denel’s group chief executive officer, described the project as “the most significant defence contract signed with a South African company in the last 10 years”. It is, therefore, a concern that a major defence acquisition project was approved before the completion of the Defence Review; and that the total cost of the defence acquisition project has never been disclosed to Parliament. In fact, at a Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans meeting, on 06 November 2013, the Defence Department refused point-blank to reply to any questions about the cost of “Project Hoefyster”.

The first prototype of the Badger vehicle was delivered in 2010 to the ARMSCOR and the SANDF. The modifications, integration and testing were to make the vehicle suitable for the SANDF requirements. Of the 238 Badgers on order, the first 18 hulls would come from the Patria production line in Finland. The Badger was to enter production by early 2015 and will replace the Ratel IFVs (also known as Honey Badger) by 2022. By early 2015 the first complete Badger system was set to be delivered to the Army in late 2016.



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