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ARMSCOR and SU to collaborate
Author: Media & Communication, Faculty of Science
Published: 12/12/2017

‚ÄčArmscor has signed an agreement with SU to develop a Virtual Defence Engagement Programme and a Laser Defence Programme over the next three years.

The collaboration forms part of the Defence Engineering and Science University Program (DESUP), which focuses on support for and development of postgraduate programmes for those areas where ARMSCOR have identified a potential shortage of future skills in the defence environment. Armscor is an agency of the Department of Defence.

Prof Shaun Wyngaardt, a nuclear physicist at SU, will lead the Virtual Defence Engagement Program, while Prof Erich Rohwer, a laser physicist and head of the Department of Physics, will lead the Laser Defence Programme.

Prof Wyngaardt says virtual simulation platforms or virtual laboratories are already used at universities as an educational tool for students and researchers to prepare them for engagement with highly sophisticated equipment in large nuclear physics experiments.

In the same way, a virtual simulation platform will provide a safe and cost effective training environment for training of defence personnel on a wide range of equipment and possible combat environments. The programme will include support for postgraduate students and the development of research infrastructure and apparatus. Through the Defence Engineering and Science University Programme (DESUP) network this program will provide a platform for SU to collaborate with Universities, such as Fort Hare University and other HDIs, on the development and implementation of virtual educational tools.

The aim of the Laser Defence Programme is to build capacity and expertise in the development of laser-based defence technologies. Postgraduate students from SU, Fort Hare University, the University of Zululand and the University of Venda will be invited to apply and participate in this program.

Prof Rohwer says postgraduate students will receive formal training in laser physics, as well as additional training through internships and apprenticeships. The students will also have access to existing facilities and expertise of researchers in the Laser Research Institute at SU, the CSIR's National Laser Centre and that of international partners such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in the United Kingdom, and the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology in Germany.

The agreement, valued at nearly R5,8 million over the next three years ,was signed at Stellenbosch University on Friday 30 November 2017, by SU's Prof Nico Koopman (left) and Armscor's Prof Noel Mkaza, Group Executive of Research and Development (seated in front). Present at the signing were (at the back, from left to right) Prof Shaun Wyngaardt, Ms Dikeledi Maema, Executive Manager Research and Development at Armscor, and Prof Erich Rohwer. Photo: Stefan Els

For more information, contact Prof Shaun Wyngaardt at 021 808 3379 or