Aeronautics Systems

The CSIR is acknowledged as the home of aeronautical research in South Africa on the basis of a track record of technological advances and achievements in support of force development and air power leadership built over many decades.

Research efforts draw from the skills of talented engineers, scientists and technicians, and modern facilities. Test and evaluation infrastructure includes a suite of nine wind tunnels, structural test facilities and computer clusters – has resulted in the existence of a hub of world-class aeronautical expertise.

Core activities and competencies include wind-tunnel testing; material specification and testing; helicopter structural and aerodynamic technology; gas turbine engine technology; air vehicle structural characterisation; ground vibration testing (GVT); flutter analysis and prediction; store carriage and release predictions; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); flutter flight test software and hardware systems; simulation-based acquisition and operational support; aero-mechanical store integration and aircraft structures technology.

The group is a strategic defence capability, operating as an extension of the SANDF, and also providing research in support of the Department of Science and Technology’s national aeronautics research strategy.

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Command, Control and Information Warfare

The CSIRs Command, Control and Information Warfare group focuses on concept development, experimentation and simulation to put in place integrated defence and security capabilities. Examples include solutions for interoperability, situation awareness for better border safeguarding or cyber defence matters.  Clients such as the SA National Defence Force, Armscor, other government departments and industry rely on the CSIR for technology development, application and support from the perspective of an independent science, engineering and technology powerbase.

In cyber defence, the focus is on technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage and/or unauthorised access.  It includes creating awareness for cyber safety and social engineering defence.

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Integrative Systems Group

The CSIR’s Integrative Systems Group (ISG) is responsible for solving large national problems, conceptualising and driving complex, integrative programmes that mobilise problem solving, foresight, research, architecture and engineering capabilities for key clients. ISG works closely with government, industry and other research organisations with a focus on defence and security sectors. ISG’s distinction lies in the foundation of scientific research and innovation that underpins all projects.

Landward Sciences

The CSIR undertakes research and development to understand the effects of various explosive events in order to come up with protective interventions for example, vehicles and the crews on board. This includes protection against landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and threats such as RPG-7s. A major part of work in this domain is undertaken as test and evaluation studies for clients.

Components of the work are:

·        Threat characterisation and surrogate development

·        Explosive events testing, measurement and evaluation

·        Modelling and simulating the impact and effects of the event

Work in this domain underpins much of the overall Landward Science offering.  It draws from a purpose-designed Detonics, Ballistics and Explosives Laboratory where data from blasts events are collected for input in the design of protective solutions for example, humans and vehicles.


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Optronic Sensor Systems

The CSIR’s research in the field of Optronic Sensor Systems (OSS) focuses on new and novel electro-optic sensors, and the modelling, simulation, engineering, testing, evaluation and development of advanced electro-optical sensor systems for day, night and multispectral surveillance. Researchers also evaluate and design countermeasure and electronic warfare techniques in the visual and infrared wavelengths.  To underpin this work, the CSIR has a suite of specialist facilities, including a test and evaluation laboratory, flight motion simulator, ship motion simulator and missile exploitation laboratory.

Research areas include self-protection, advanced optical systems, surveillance applications and information application especially the management of large amounts of image data.

Download Fact Sheet: Optronic Sensor Systems (OSS) 

Radar and electronic warfare 

The CSIR’s radar and electronic warfare (EW) area operates as a Defence Evaluation Research Institute (DERI) and undertakes contract research, technology development, operational test and evaluation support, acquisition support, performance requirement studies, expert consultation and training to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), select international defence research organisations as well as the local and international industry.

Main products and services are in the fields of platform self-protection, strategic surveillance, modeling and simulation software, test and evaluation facilities and the emerging research areas of persistent real-time surveillance and communications EW.

The group boasts specialised radar and EW research, development, test and evaluation facilities. Of particular note is the state-of-the-art sensor and engagement simulation software (SEWES), digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) technology and DRFM based hardware in the loop simulators, and mobile tracking radar and radar cross section (RCS) measurement facilities.

Technology for Special Operations

TSO has supported the needs of the special operations forces in defence and security operations over many decades. Scientific and engineering expertise, independence and a comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing these forces are the important factors that drive this partnership.

Outside of traditional R&D, TSO also engages directly in strategic planning, policy and doctrine development, training, testing and evaluation projects, exercises, and life cycle management of operational systems for groups such as the SA National Defence Force (Special Forces), Special Task Force of the SA Police Services and other government departments. TSO is also uniquely geared for quick reaction tasks to support operational emergencies.

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