Ryno van Staden – President
Ryno joined the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 1998. He obtained his B. Eng. (Electronic) degree at the University of Pretoria in 2002 and was utilized as electronic engineer at the SAAF 5 Air Supply Unit (ASU) Engineering Services up to middle 2003. From middle 2003 up to 2007 he was Systems Engineer responsible for airborne Infrared (IR) self-protection systems and countermeasures at the SAAF Electronic Warfare (EW) Centre. In 2007 he left the SAAF to join the then Grintek Ewation (currently GEW Technologies) as Senior Systems Engineer with the focus on distributed strategic Communication Intelligence (COMINT) systems. In 2012 Ryno joined the Optronics Sensor Systems (OSS) competency area of CSIR’s Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS) business unit as Senior Researcher in the field of IR EW. During his period at DPSS he completed his B.Eng (Hons) degree at the University of Pretoria with the focus on Electronic Warfare. In 2015 Ryno re-joined GEW Technologies as Principal Systems Engineer.
Christo Cloete – Outgoing President
Christo Cloete joined the South African Air Force in 1984 after completing his B. Ing. Electronic degree at the University of Pretoria. He started his career in Electronic Warfare (EW), specializing in Communication EW and gained valuable experience in the utilization of EW in the operational environment during the Angolan conflict. Working in the South African EW industry at Sysdel, Christo was involved in the development of airborne, ground and naval ESM (Electronic Support Measures)/ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) systems, the upgrade and support of existing ESM and ECM (Electronic Countermeasure) systems, the repair and EW exploitation of captured radar-based weapon systems, the development of RF threat simulators and flight-line support equipment. He moved into defence research when he joined the CSIR in 1995, where he was responsible for managing and growing the RF EW research and applications capability. He is currently fulfilling the role of RF EW principal researcher, systems engineer and mentor.
Martin was born in the iron and steel capital of South Africa, Vanderbijlpark. He was recruited by the SA Air Force as a student engineer and in 2001 he obtained a B.Eng (Industrial) from the University of Stellenbosch. Over the period 2003 to 2014 Martin worked as an Electronic Warfare Engineer in the SA Air Force Electronic Warfare Centre. He was actively involved in the projects on the self-protection systems of the Rooivalk, Oryx, C130, Hawk and Gripen aircraft. In 2014 he joined Saab Grintek Defence where he was appointed in his current position as Product Manager of the Integrated Defensive Aid Suite. Martin is married to Anina and has two children, De Waal and Leja.
Prof Warren du Plessis – Vice President
Warren du Plessis received the B.Eng. (Electronic) and M.Eng. (Electronic) and Ph.D. (Engineering) degrees from the University of Pretoria in 1998, 2003 and 2010 respectively, winning numerous academic awards including the prestigious Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s Medal. Prof. du Plessis spent two years as a lecturer at the University of Pretoria, then joined Grintek Antennas (since split between Poynting Antennas and Saab EDS) as a design engineer for almost four years, and most recently, spent six years working in Electronic Warfare (EW) at Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS), a division of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa. In his time at DPSS, he has won awards for “Excellence as a Young Professional” and “Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.” He is currently an Associate Professor and the Chair in Electronic Defence Research at the University of Pretoria. His primary research interests are cross-eye jamming, and thinned and sparse antenna arrays. Prof. du Plessis is lead or sole author of fifteen papers published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed international journals (eight in IEEE Transactions journals) and is an author of twenty-one conference papers (lead or sole author of fourteen of these papers). He is a registered Professional Engineer (Pr.Eng.), a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Lifetime Member of the Association of Old Crows (AOC), and a member of the AOC Aardvark Roost Board.
Lt Col Sonika Botes -Treasurer
Lt Col Botes has started her career in the SANDF within the EW field and has never left the environment for the last 20 years. She was the Squadron Commander at a Static EW Landward monitoring centre and the Squadron Commander of the SA Navy COMINT EWCentres. Other posts in which she was utilised in hercareer also included Adjudant,Logistics for Operations, Planning Officer, HQ Ops Room Officer. She is currently the strategic planner and SO1 Electronic Warfare in the Directorate Information Warfare,Command Management and Information Systems Division (CMIS) and is responsible for EW governance and strategic direction of EW in the SANDF. She enjoys an active life, reading and her two dogs. She has a keen interest incriminology, forensic pathology and -psychology. She studied psychology, has a diploma as PA and is currently completing her BBA degree.
Kevin Gopaul – Scribe
Kevin G. Gopaul currently fulfills the role of Research Group Leader: Infrared Electronic Warfare within Optronic Sensor Systems at DPSS, CSIR. After joining the South African Air Force in 1996 he obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree (with choice subjects in Aeronautics) from the University of Pretoria. He was involved in the acquisition of the Hawk aircraft system and played a key role in the establishment of the operational squadron at Air Force Base Makhado. He left the SAAF in 2012 having reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with his final post being that of Staff Officer Engineering Support within Directorate Combat Systems at Air Command. He is a professional engineer and holds a Masters degree in Engineering Management.
Tshilidzi Gladstone Mukwevho
Tshilidzi studied in the French South African institute of Technology (F’SATI) which is a graduate school, jointly developed by France and South Africa. He obtained his M.Tech in Electrical Engineering cum-laude (Tshwane University of Technology) in 2009 and M.Sc. in Electronics (ESIEE Paris) in 2010. His M.Tech./M.Sc. dissertation was on PC Based Acoustic Sonar. He commenced his formal employment at DENEL Dynamics in 2009 until 2014. During the course of his employment, he was working in hardware design, software and firmware design for various electronic systems, and was the design authority of the video router system. He also mentored new engineers in training at DENEL Dynamics. He is currently employed as a Technical Manager at Armscor in the Radar an Information Warfare Division. His responsibilities briefly entail management of various Electronic Warfare technologies in support of the DOD and Product and system acquisitions.