Tellumat Defence has been awarded a five-year R24-million contract by Armscor to support and maintain the airfield radar approach systems (AFRAS) at various South African Air Force (SAAF) bases around the country. Armscor is the acquisition organisation for the South African Department of Defence. 

The deal follows on a similar contract to maintain and support SAAF’s Umlindi long-range air defence radar systems.
Colin Meintjes, Tellumat Defence MD for the Northern region, explains that the AFRAS system falls within the category of approach control that also makes use of precision approach radar (PAR) systems that guide aircraft onto airfields in conditions of poor visibility.
“It allows air traffic control to see and communicate to pilots how far they are from the runway and what their bearing and height is, and to guide them in with great precision.”
Tellumat Defence’s role will entail handling mainly depot-based repairs. It has set up a depot specifically for this purpose, which it will man permanently based at the Air Force’s Mobile Deployment Wing in Pretoria.
Whereas South African Air Force personnel handles on-site first-level repairs and support, as well as intermediate repairs with Tellumat’s assistance and training, the depot represents third-level support of faulty items. Tellumat will repair, test and re-issue components to SAAF.
“With the strong engineering and technical backing from other Tellumat Group companies we can also address issues of obsolescence,” Meintjes adds. “Should any component become obsolete over the 25 to 30 years of a radar system’s life-time, we can re-design and manufacture it.”
Tellumat’s focus has to date been mainly on the support and maintenance of radar systems, but this will change somewhat in future, as its turns its attention to upgrades. “We have built up extensive experience in this arena, which will put us in a good position when the time for replacement comes.”
In its immediate future, Tellumat has been tasked to investigate opportunities for interim upgrades to AFRAS systems at air bases throughout South Africa.