Your partner in providing key defence solutions

The Armaments Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited (Armscor) is an acquisition agency for the South African Department of Defence. Its mandate is to provide armed forces with the state-of-the-art defence matériel required to provide safety and security for South Africa, its citizens and the continent. The organisation plays an important role in providing the defence forces with proper resources to execute their duties efficiently and effectively.

Armscor provides defence turnkey solutions and its research and development focusses on producing cutting-edge technology products. Its technologies have evolved from the defence sector to both commercial and domestic sectors. It has capabilities and skills to meet the needs of the changing global landscape.

Despite the changing socio-economic climate, Armscor remains committed to support peacekeeping efforts that ensure peace and stability in African economies, and strengthen relations that further boost the continent’s development agenda.

It has a proven track record of delivering on its mandate. Armscor has extensive experience in product development, technology development, enhancement, sustainment and disposal of products. The organisation has world-class facilities that can be used by both local and international clients to test and evaluate the performance of their defence and security related products. Armscor prides itself on maintaining high-quality international standards through rigorous testing and evaluation processes on all its technology management projects.

Armscor’s CEO, Advocate Solomzi Mbada, says Armscor is committed to driving creativity and innovation in collaboration with strategic partners. In line with its strategic objective of trade both in the SADC and BRICS zones, the organisation also provides marketing support to the South African Defence Industry (SADI).

Armscor’s Core Business is acquisitions, research and development and naval dockyard.


“Armscor’s acquisition role includes requirements analysis, technology development, design and development of products and product systems, the industrialisation and manufacturing of mature products and product systems that fully meet the stated user requirements. It also entails procurement of existing and qualified products, as well as the acquisition of product system support for user systems during the operational lifetime of the systems,” according to Mbada.

The acquisition unit provides cost-effective and safe procurement of product systems and logistic support that creates defence capability. Some of the highlights include:

  • the acquisition of the hydrographic capability product systems (which includes a hydrographic survey vessel, two fully integrated inshore survey motor boats and one sea boat);
  • the development of the A-Darter short range air-to-air missile system; and
  • the development of a New Generation Infantry Combat Vehicle to replace the Ratel Infantry Combat Vehicle.

Research and development

Through research and development, Armscor is able to conduct defence research and scientific research, test and evaluation services, technology management, analysis and industrialisation and intellectual property management services. The organisation has the capability to perform an independent, centralised co-ordination and management role for technology acquisition and technology commercialisation.

Some of its research and development facilities include the Gerotek Test Facility, the Alkantpan Test Range, the Institute for Maritime Technology, Protechnik Laboratories, Hazmat, ERGOnomics TECHnologies and the Defence Decision Support Institute (DDSI).

1. The Gerotek Test Facility: This facility is located in Gauteng, about 20 kilometres west of Pretoria. Gerotek has the ability to test and evaluate the performance of vehicles in terms of speed, braking, fuel consumption, acceleration and power output. Mobility tests are conducted to measure off-road mobility, step climbing, gradient ability and ditch crossing. Furthermore, homologation tests are conducted to determine a centre of gravity, speedometer calibration, stationary noise and brakes performance. These state-of-the-art tracks are able to determine both endurance and reliability of vehicles irrespective of size. A wide range of test measurements such as strain, temperature, vibration, pressure and displacement can be supported from the instrumentation to data processing phase.

Gerotek is an ISO17025 international accredited test facility providing repeatable, scientific vehicle and product testing services to the industry. This is an indication that Gerotek is competent to conduct testing and results generated are valid and reliable. It is also evidence that this facility conforms to the international standards with regards to testing and sampling. The facility offers testing support services in the form of test planning, import and export of test vehicles and equipment, providing workshops and accompanying test teams. Gerotek test teams consists of highly motivated, qualified engineers and technicians. They possess many years of testing experience. Services offered include:

  • advanced defensive and offensive driver training;
  • a basic off-road (4×4) course;
  • hosting corporate events;
  • product promotions;
  • a restaurant facility;
  • conference facilities; and
  • adventure team building events.

2. The Alkantpan Test Range: Located outside Prieska in the Northern Cape, the range is an end-to-end service for clients who want to test and evaluate their weapons and ammunition. It has six test sites and a demolition site suitable to accommodate various sizes of weapons and ammunition. The range is about 67 kilometres in length and 15 kilometres wide. It is located in a sparsely populated semi desert area. Alkantpan offers more than just ballistic test services. From the landing strip, ammunition assembly, firing sites to the end results of the test analysis – all is possible at Alkantpan. Alkantpan has firing sites designed to protect personnel and equipment against any catastrophic failure of the weapon or ammunition. Well-equipped assembly, machines and electronic workshops cater for most maintenance and repair requirements. Weapons, ammunition, spares and equipment can be stored under tight security according to clients’ requirements. The Alkantpan Test Range is a strategic ISO 9001 all-purpose ballistic test range for medium to large calibre weapons and ammunition. Various related tests are also catered for, like insensitive munitions, hazard classification, ageing and surveillance trails. Alkantpan also offers import and export assistance including end-user certificates, and can assists with transport arrangements as well as accommodation, vehicle rental and other logistical arrangements.

The instrumentation personnel provide a wide variety of measurements including:

  • tracking radar;
  • stress and strain;
  • muzzle velocity;
  • vibrations and accelerations;
  • chamber pressure;
  • fuse frequencies;
  • blast overpressure;
  • burst heights;
  • fall of shot;
  • temperature;
  • upper-air meteorology;
  • toxicity;
  • high-speed video (monochrome and colour); and
  • humidity.

3. The Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT): The facility is a multi-disciplinary ISO 9001 2015 division specialising in techno-military research and development, as well as specialised products and services. IMT provides services to the South African National Defence Force (primarily to the SA Navy), government departments, defence industry, the broader maritime community and other clients as part of its commercial initiatives. Through the combined expertise and dedication of professional staff, IMT today provides a techno-scientific foundation for the exploration, conceptualisation, improvement, modernisation, in-service engineering, and maintenance of systems that ensure that the SA Navy accomplishes its national maritime role and responsibilities in an optimum manner. The facilities at IMT include two large acoustic test tanks, acoustic and magnetic measurement facilities, radar and infrared evaluation ranges, small survey vessels, mechanical and electronic laboratories, as well as a library specializing in maritime subjects.

Some of IMT’s signature projects include:

  • The Underwater Locator Beacon System: In collaboration with the SA Navy, the division designed and developed a system to detect an Underwater Locator Beacon (ULB) “pinger”, which is fitted to cockpit voice and flight data recorders found on large civilian aircrafts. A technology demonstrator system called an Underwater Locator Beacon Detection System (also known as a Ping Locator) has been developed to detect underwater pulses from an ULB. This invention demonstrates IMT’s capability to provide innovative maritime solutions.
  • The Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detector System: This system automatically detects breaks in railway lines to prevent the derailment of trains. This is a unique Armscor owned IP and technology in collaboration with the CSIR supplying the transducer and Transnet as the primary client. Test evaluations with Indian Railways are still underway.
  • The Shark Repellent System: IMT in partnership with KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board developed a shark repellent system to protect sharks and other marine animals. This system replaces nets used to control

marine wildlife. It creates a barrier that separates bathers from sharks without harming or killing them.

4. Protechnik Laboratories: This division is a strategic facility within the Research and Development Department at Armscor. It is an applied chemistry or biochemistry facility with a primary focus on chemical and biological research. Biomedical studies are undertaken focussing on characterisation and identification techniques for biological warfare agents. It provides technical support under contract to the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction on technical aspects related to the implementation of the chemical weapons convention.

Specialised fields of research include:

  • detection;
  • warning and identification of trace amounts of hazardous chemicals;
  • protection of personnel in chemically hazardous environments (respiratory, body and collective protection);
  • decontamination and or detoxification of chemical and biological agents; and
  • synthesis of test compounds and chemical verification standards in support of commitments to the chemical weapons convention.

5. Hazmat: Situated in Centurion in Gauteng, Hazmat manufactures and markets a comprehensive range of filter cartridges, canisters, half and full face masks to protect individuals against respiratory health hazards. It also manufactures impregnated activated carbon, which is used as one of the primary filter materials in the manufacturing of air-purifying respiratory filters. Hazmat has a state-of-the-art carbon impregnation plant that provides it with a competitive advantage in the manufacturing of respiratory filters. These products are suitable for both military and commercial sectors. Commercial canisters and cartridges are currently manufactured and benefit the workforce of companies and individuals in the mining, industrial, chemical, agricultural and private sectors. All respiratory products are approved (homologated) by the National Regulator of Compulsory Standards (NRCS).

6. ERGOnomics TECHnologies (ERGOTECH): This ergonomics consultancy has provided a comprehensive and efficient service in ergonomics and occupational health and safety, both locally and internationally, for more than two decades. ERGOTECH functions as a team of interdisciplinary qualified specialists with vast experience in applied ergonomics for military and commercial clients. People are the most vital component in any operation and therefore ERGOTECH aims to provide ergonomics solutions to optimise human performance, reduce work-related risks, and improve overall productivity.

The services provided by ERGOTECH are divided into three interlinked domains: research and databases, design and specifications and test and evaluation.

7. The Defence Decision Support Institute (DDSI): The institute renders defence analysis, engineering support, decision support, operational research and capability analysis services to defence practitioners in the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, focussing on the high system levels (level 5+) over the total life cycle of defence capabilities. The DDSI comprises a team of scientists, engineers and operational specialists that renders a broad range of services, described below. The scope of services includes, but are not limited to:

  • policy analysis;
  • war and conflict studies;
  • environmental analysis;
  • defence capability analysis;
  • weapon system analysis;
  • operational analysis;
  • process development and support;
  • products system management support;
  • integrated logistic support management services; and
  • systems and logistics engineering services.