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PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 18:45 
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Mod: This thread has been split off the Seen in the Bay thread.

Eugene wrote:
Paul wrote:
I wouldn't worry too much Doug, remember that the navy had discovered in 1983 that they had been caught with their pants down thanks to Dieter Gerhardt!


What a waste of roubles he must have been - If I was the Russians I'd demand my cash back.


I think they got more than their monies worth, remember they received the worlds first and only helmet sighting system which was apparently returned after the Russians had copied it :?


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 19:31 
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Balerit wrote:
Eugene wrote:
Paul wrote:
I wouldn't worry too much Doug, remember that the navy had discovered in 1983 that they had been caught with their pants down thanks to Dieter Gerhardt!


What a waste of roubles he must have been - If I was the Russians I'd demand my cash back.


I think they got more than their monies worth, remember they received the worlds first and only helmet sighting system which was apparently returned after the Russians had copied it :?


Not from him they didn't - two helmets were stolen at Waterkloof IIRC. A long way fom Simon's Town. There were other agents you know. At least one major in the SAAF that I know of.

Dieter Gerhardt was an engineer officer. You have to have been in the navy to know what that means. Non-general service officers are sneered at by the rest of the navy, a vendetta going back to the time when they had the temerity to suggest steam might just replace sails. You cannot pass on important information unless you are privy to it - and largely he wasn't. You don't discuss tactics with the engineer - so long as he gets the ship there and back it's all that's required.

The navy gained a hell of lot more from the man than the Russians ever did! The first time I met him - I served under him briefly when he was my engineer officer - the immediate thought that went through my mind was "SS - officer". Cold, brutally efficient and without a heart. In fact his father was interned here during WW2 for Nazi sympathies. As the OC dockyard, the highest position and rank a SAN engineer could hope to attain, which is largely a civilian organisation, he had to work hard to get the promotions. When he got the job he worked wonders at getting a slapgat organisation to run well and efficiently.

So what use was he to the Russians? Let's look what he could have done: 1) tactical information - he seldom would have been privy to any unless the navy was involved and even then his lines of communication were of such a nature that he could not have gotten it to his controllers in time for it to be of much use. 2) Strategic information - he would have known what ships were in commission, which were due to drydock or refit and for how long they would have been out of commission. I am sure the Russian navy would have found it infinitely useful - as they very seldom bothered to venture down this way. Otherwise a few bits of scuttlebut picked up here and there but probably of little use as the navy was not a key player in much of it. He did reveal a few naval projects - and the good they did the soviets is questionable as most of what he gave them was fairly common knowledge in most military journals. He did pass on the information of the extension of Simon's Town harbour. The best description of it I ever saw was in a Soviet naval journal in 1978 - and could only have come from him. What use it was I would not know - the Soviets had little blue water capability this far south. Even crossing the Atlantic used to get a soviet sailor a medal back then. One of his own great defects, and this seems to be a common one with undercover agents for foreign powers was an overblown sense of self-importance. To the point that if he did not have any information he would make some up - or heavily embroider some that he had. To the point where a lot of what he was telling his controllers was untrustworthy.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 21:33 
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I was under the impression that South Africa's "first" in the helmet mounted sights department, is a myth. The wikipedia article on Helmet Mounted Displays cites no sources for the South African claims:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmet_mounted_display

I can also find no mention of South Africa's involvement in the development of this system in this extract from Air Power International 1998:

http://www.ausairpower.net/hmd-technology.html

:?: :?: :?:

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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 21:41 
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H1017412 wrote:
I was under the impression that South Africa's "first" in the helmet mounted sights department, is a myth. The wikipedia article on Helmet Mounted Displays cites no sources for the South African claims:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmet_mounted_display

I can also find no mention of South Africa's involvement in the development of this system in this extract from Air Power International 1998:

http://www.ausairpower.net/hmd-technology.html

:?: :?: :?:


Anyone who blindly believes wikipedia (or indeed anything found on the web) gets what he deserves.
One fact about Gerhardt - the theft of the helmet(s) came to the attention of the USA via one of their agents in the Soviet Union and the subsequent investigation by the US led to Dieter Gerhardt. Not that he had anything to do with the helmet - but in their grubbing around for what Soviet spy in SA could have passed the helmet on they uncovered his tracks.

Apparently - and this may be pure local urban legend - when they discovered it, the Soviets made exact copies of ours, they were appalled to find something in service that they had only planned for service with the USAAF in 10 years time.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 21:50 
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H1017412 wrote:
I was under the impression that South Africa's "first" in the helmet mounted sights department, is a myth. The wikipedia article on Helmet Mounted Displays cites no sources for the South African claims:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmet_mounted_display

I can also find no mention of South Africa's involvement in the development of this system in this extract from Air Power International 1998:

http://www.ausairpower.net/hmd-technology.html

:?: :?: :?:


From Vlamgat by Dick Lord:

Quote:
The South African-developed missiles were designed for integration
with a helmet-mounted sight, also of South African design. Development of the helmets began in I975 and the SAAF was the first air force to fly operationally with this type of system. One of these helmets was stolen during the Commodore Dieter Gerhard spy saga. It was passed on to the Russians and was partly the reason the spy was eventually apprehended. On completion of the "cold war", and when South Africa's relations with Russia had been established, it was interesting to note that the helmet sight used by the Russian Air Force was basically the same as the helmet stolen from the SAAF.


Page 57.

Toevallig looking for something completely different when I stumbled across it! He is a little unclear and it sounds like Gerhardt stole the helmet - which was not the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 21:52 
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Eugene wrote:
Anyone who blindly believes wikipedia (or indeed anything found on the web) gets what he deserves.


Which is precisely why I am questioning these claims. It seems to me that the only sources that corroborate this information are South African ones. Whether or not that is due to US / Soviet embarrassment or simply because the claims are not valid, I'm not sure.

It is difficult for me to imagine that that technology would have been hatched in South Africa (especially at that time) without at least some foreign involvement. Don't get me wrong - if SA did, then all credit to them.

"Trust... but verify".

As for Gerhardt - well, what a naval officer would be doing anywhere near a highly advanced piece of air force kit, doesn't make sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:04 
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You folks are looking at the wrong articles/information.

Its not about "helmet mounted displays" it's about the technology that enables targetting missiles with the helmet mounted display.
In other word controlling where the missile seeker is looking by tracking the position of the helmet (where the pilot is looking).

Merely mounting a display on a helmet is only one part of the system


Last edited by Roger the Dodger on 09 Feb 2012, 22:09, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:07 
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H1017412 wrote:
It is difficult for me to imagine that that technology would have been hatched in South Africa without at least some foreign involvement. Don't get me wrong - if SA did, then all credit to them.


That is rather an ill-informed statement. Several pieces of very high-tech equipment were developed locally in the seventies with no foreign involvement. Especially where no foreign power had even begun to develop anything along those lines. I can think of several night-vision devices we trialled on strike craft, mostly developed for special forces, which were designed from scratch by a small local 5-man company with no foreign input from anything but what was available to the public. mainly because the area they were working in at that time was virgin territory.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:19 
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@H

Don't forget our technology was and I think still is ahead of everyone else and in those days of dark secrets no one would have known about this technology (Helmet sight). Dickie Lord explained how Gerhardt managed to photo copy the plans. I think after the Yanks dropped us in Angola we never trusted them again and I don't think we would have passed on any technology to them including the SAM missile system we captured intact in Angola.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:21 
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Roger the Dodger wrote:
You folks are looking at the wrong articles/information.

Its not about "helmet mounted displays" it's about the technology that enables targetting missiles with the helmet mounted display.
In other word controlling where the missile seeker is looking by tracking the position of the helmet (where the pilot is looking).

Merely mounting a display on a helmet is only one part of the system


I think you are right that I've been barking up the wrong tree on this one. :oops: However, it still doesn't answer my original query about why I can't find any mention of SA'n development of this system outside of SA'n sources?

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Last edited by H1017412 on 09 Feb 2012, 22:40, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:29 
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Eugene wrote:
H1017412 wrote:
It is difficult for me to imagine that that technology would have been hatched in South Africa without at least some foreign involvement. Don't get me wrong - if SA did, then all credit to them.


That is rather an ill-informed statement. Several pieces of very high-tech equipment were developed locally in the seventies with no foreign involvement. Especially where no foreign power had even begun to develop anything along those lines. I can think of several night-vision devices we trialled on strike craft, mostly developed for special forces, which were designed from scratch by a small local 5-man company with no foreign input from anything but what was available to the public. mainly because the area they were working in at that time was virgin territory.


OK, that may be but I imagine that the technological requirements of a fast jet helmet mounted sight would far outweigh those of a night vision device?

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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:34 
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We seemed to have hijacked this thread, shouldn't we move this topic to its own thread?

What I find strange is that we use the Cobra system developed by BAE Systems when in actual fact I think it is our system that they have maybe taken over and the fact that we have to import it for use on the Gripen? Doesn't make sense unless Wikipedia has screwed up again.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:37 
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H1017412 wrote:
Eugene wrote:
OK, that may be but I imagine that the technological requirements of a fast jet helmet mounted sight would far outweigh those of a night vision device?


Not really. The early SAAF helmet had three small transmitters in it which had receivers in the cockpit that picked up the exact position the helmet was orientated in - ie: the direction the pilot was looking - and translated that information into a firing solution. Fairly simple to start with - of course it grew more complicated, but everything starts somewhere. Fuchs developed a number of very sophisticated electronic devices for the strike craft - stuff Israel would not sell or even give us information about because it was too secret. IFF, jammers, ECM and ECCM equipments.


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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:38 
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Gotcha. :smt023 Sorry for the hijack Dean / Kremlin, agree with Balerit - maybe a new thread is required :)

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 Post subject: Re: Seen in the Bay
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 22:52 
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H1017412 wrote:
Gotcha. :smt023 Sorry for the hijack Dean / Kremlin, agree with Balerit - maybe a new thread is required :)


Splitters!

BTW try the history section in this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmet_mounted_display


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