Denel Land Systems has awarded a contract to Sagem to deliver infrared imagers for the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Badger infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
Awarded at the recently concluded Eurosatory 2014 exhibition in France, the contract covers the installation of three types of the medium wavelength advanced thermal imaging system (MATIS) on different versions of the Badger vehicles.
Designed to address demanding operational requirements of combat platforms for global armies, navies and air forces, MATIS allows users to carry out observation, reconnaissance, identification and engagement missions in challenging environments.
Capable of being integrated in turret-mounted weapon systems, the hand-held, fully autonomous imager integrates bi-ocular display, controls and a battery pack, and has already proven its performance during field testing.
To date, more than 6,000 MATIS thermal imagers have been manufactured for major weapon systems in France and international markets.
Production will be carried out at Sagem’s facility in Poitiers, France, while the delivery schedule remains undisclosed.
As part of the industrial participation programme in South Africa, Sagem has collaborated with local company Afrimeasure, which will handle part of the final imager integration, along with testing and through-life maintenance.
Around 238 Badger IFVs are being manufactured by Denel under a contract awarded by the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor) in October 2013.
A new generation 8×8 IFV, Badger is designed to provide soldiers with effective protection and offensive firepower in high-intensity warfare, while enabling them to dismount from the vehicle and freely interact with civilians during peace-enforcement operations.
It is expected to replace the existing armoured protected combat vehicle fleet, including the Ratel 6×6.
Image: A South African Badger vehicle at Waterkloof Air Force Base in South Africa. Photo: courtesy of JMK.