Defence and security

The CSIR is trusted as a strategic and independent contributor to South Africa’s sovereignty and the security of state and citizens, as well as to undertake research and development to serve the competitiveness of local industry.

CSIR Defence and Security develops strategic technologies and capabilities for air, land, sea and cyber defence and security, and delivers integrated solutions for the private, public and civil sectors.

Areas of work

The CSIR focuses its defence research and development on integrated security solutions and technologies that can be commercialised to contribute to industry competitiveness. A particular focus is on integrated large-scale intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms; technology solutions that are interoperable; advanced manufacturing, and complete original equipment manufacturer solutions.

The CSIR’s cybersecurity capabilities are closely aligned to the National Cybersecurity Framework and associated programmes. The CSIR typically serves as a decision-support partner to those with complex crime problems. Interventions include countering cybercrime, such as identity theft; providing non-visual and visual crime-sensing systems; performing big data crime analysis; and undertaking the enhancement and/or integration of network communication systems.

In civil security, integrated security solutions – based on military efficiency – are used to protect state and society. These include command and control solutions for crowd management and sensor systems for large areas and critical infrastructure. Tailor-made decision-support systems enable authorities to detect, identify and react more rapidly and effectively to criminal activities.

The CSIR’s defence and security capability comprises the skills and specialised facilities to undertake the design, testing, evaluation and measurement of technologies. It further assists in developing doctrine, training and equipping defence agencies to be smart buyers, users and managers of technology.

Impact areas

Aeronautic systems: Conducting research, development and innovation in new aerodynamic analysis, test and evaluation technologies; and developing new tools, processes and technologies to deliver validated, cost-effective services that support industry. The CSIR has a strong track record of technological advances and achievements in support of force development and air power.

Radar and Electronic Warfare: Stimulating local industrial development through joint product innovation, concurrent engineering and commercialisation initiatives. The CSIR Radar and Electronic Warfare impact area contributes to the development of a capable state through technological support to the South African National Defence Force. The CSIR is recognised by international clients as a leading technology development, evaluation, application and training player in specialised radar and electronic warfare facilities, systems and hardware-in-the-loop solutions. The CSIR also undertakes radar capability development and establishment in other countries.

Optronic Sensor Systems: Developing new and novel electro-optic sensors/imagers and image processing techniques. The CSIR undertakes the modelling, simulation, engineering, testing and evaluation of advanced electro-optical sensor systems and develops day, night and multispectral surveillance systems. The organisation specialises in countermeasure evaluation. Its research and development is output driven and results in the demonstration of prototypes for operations in maritime, air, land and space domains.

Landward Sciences: Contributing to the effectiveness and safety of soldiers in the South African National Defence Force during operations and deployments. Areas of speciality include soldier systems, firepower (including detonics), mobility, vehicle and crew survivability. Expertise can be adapted to civil security requirements, such as vehicle design.

Technology for Special Operations: Providing science, engineering and technology expertise for military capability in special operations, and specialised capability in support of the police and other security organisations. The Advanced Design and Manufacturing and Innovation Centre provides unique capabilities to clients in the broader defence and security sector, as well as to other clients who require access to specialised skills in additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, advanced design optimisation and product lifecycle management.

Command, Control and Integrated Systems: Focusing typically on safety and security challenges of significant scope, with multiple contributors and shareholders, across the boundaries of function or organisation. Providing decision support, sustainable capability development and multiplatform, innovative solutions that address public or private sector safety and security challenges.

Information and Cybersecurity Centre: Supporting the private and public sectors to align with the national cybersecurity policy framework through research and innovation in home-grown identity management, cyber and information security solutions and approaches to securely identify and protect people (cradle to grave) and systems (physical and digital) against vulnerabilities, threats and risks.


Contact Person

Christa van der Merwe


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