The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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Overview: CSIR research and development in defence, peace, safety and security

At the CSIR, science and technology (S&T) is hard at work for a peaceful, safe and prosperous South Africa. The organisation has developed strong S&T capabilities through its associations with key players in defence, safety and security-related fields, thereby also contributing to the country's international competitiveness.

The CSIR - through its expertise in defence, peace, safety and security - serves as the 'in-house' S&T capability of key government departments and agencies in defence, peace, safety and security. CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security provides a national defence S&T capability: supplying knowledge, advice and solutions in defence and matters of national security.

Specifically, it aims to provide a defence evaluation and research institute capability for the Department of Defence.

CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security also:

  • Partners with the local defence and aerospace industries to improve strategic capabilities and international competitiveness
  • Collaborates and undertakes joint projects with selected international and local organisations and laboratories
  • Develops and maintains national research facilities and infrastructure
  • Contributes to national science, engineering and technology themes, industry development initiatives and to a new generation of scientists and engineers in the defence, aerospace and security fields
  • Contributes to an improved understanding of crime, violence and conflict through the application of innovative S&T solutions.

The CSIR's expertise in the defence, peace, safety and security domain covers numerous areas, with focused research groupings contributing to these areas.

Aeronautic systems

Research efforts centre on developing and applying S&T capabilities in the areas of experimental and computational aeromechanics as well as in aerostructures. The combination of talented engineers, scientists and technicians with modern facilities - including wind tunnels, structural test facilites and computer clusters - has resulted in a hub of world-class aeronautical expertise.

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

Landwards sciences

In this research field, the focus is on studies, research, design, development, modelling, simulation, testing, measurement and evluations in detonics, ballistics, protection and operator support systems. The group prides itself on being neutral, independent advisors and acts as consultants in procurement, operational support, test and evaluation. The majority of explosive landwards work is performed at the CSIR's detonics, ballistics and explosive laboratory, situated at Paardefontein outside Pretoria. It offers specialised services in the R&D cycle - from research to industrialisation in the fields of specialist vehicles, landmine and ballistic protected vehicles, specialist soldier equipment, specialised weapons, bomb disposal and borderline control technologies.

Specific skills are clustered in research groups and includes the protection against mine and other explosive threat events, explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive devices disposals, mine clearance, specialised weapons and explosives, vehicle and mobility, security, shaped charge/self forming fragments warhead technologies, ballistic protection, soldier systems, human response (blunt trauma, explosive event and terminal ballistics), autonomous intelligent systems, electromagnetic pulse and vehicle landmine protection validation and certification testing in accordance with RSA-MIL-STD 37.

Optronic sensor systems

Research focuses on new and novel electro-optic sensors; the modelling, simulation, engineering, testing, evaluation and development of advanced electro-optical sensor systems for day, night and multispectral surveillance. In addition, researchers evaluate and design countermeasure and electronic warfare techniques in the visual and infrared wavelengths.

Specific research groups include optronic survivability, optical surveillance systems, modelling and simulation, photonic technologies and test and evaluation, andmeasurement science.

Radar and electronic warfare systems

R&D is undertaken to detect, track, measure, identify, protect and implement countermeasures for sensors operating in the microwave spectrum. The main application relates to national defence and security. Specialist research groups include radar and electronic warfare research and applications, experimental electronic warfare systems and experimental radar systems and testing.

Command, control and information warfare

This research focuses on the synthesis of mathematical, computational and non-quantitative models of complex and networked systems to study emergent behaviour and to propose functional solutions to difficult problems.

In facilitating the discovery of answers and solutions to so-called 'hard problems', where mostly complexity science approaches must be followed to find sets of feasible solutions and where multiple causalities might not be the only drivers, systems modelling becomes an enabler to other research areas. At the same time, it focuses research efforts in the appropriate branches of decision under uncertainty and complexity sciences as we understand them today. Research groups include mathematical and computational modelling, complex adaptive and netted systems, systems engineering and socio-technical systems.

Technology for special operations

The focus of researchers in this domain is to develop and apply technology to meet the unique requirement of South African special operations organisations. The activities cover research, design, development, manufacturing, testing, simulation, operational support and professional services. The group has strategic relations with South African special operations organisations and focuses on land, air and maritime applications.

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