Land-based Umkhonto fired for the first time

07 October 2013
One of the first live-fire tests of the Umkhonto-IR that was carried out at the Overberg Test Range from 1-3 October. Source: Denel Dynamics

Denel Dynamics, the guided weapons division of South Africa's Denel, carried out the first live-fire tests of the land-based version of its Umkhonto naval surface-to-air missile (SAM) between 1 and 3 October.

The tests also saw an Umkhonto-IR destroy a target at 20 km for the first time, a feat achieved after recent modifications to the Block 2 variant, and the first use of Reutech Radar Systems' new RSR-320 dual-band, 3D radar to provide mid-course guidance for the missiles.

Observers from nine countries joined South African defence and military officials at Denel's Overberg Test Range for the shoot. All three war-shot missiles scored kills on Low-Cost Aerial Target Systems (LOCATS), two at 15 km range and one at 20 km.

The targets were launched from the range and flew out to sea before turning inshore on an elliptical track. They were engaged by the Umkhonto-IR missiles in their lock-on-after-launch mode, with the RSR-320 providing mid-course guidance to get the missiles within acquisition range of their infrared seekers.

The ground-based launcher is being developed by Denel Dynamics with an eye on the South African Army's GBADS Phase 2 project, as is the RSR-320 radar.

The Umkhonto Block 2 missiles were provided by the South African Navy (SAN) from its stocks, one being modified by Denel Dynamics to increase its range, effectively resulting in a Block 3 variant of the missile. The LOCATS were provided by the South African Army.

The RSR-320 radar has been developed from the 2D Thutlwa ESR 220 radar that is in service with the South African Army. It is optimised as a missile guidance radar that can designate multiple low-altitude targets with integrated electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) and identification friend-or-foe (IFF) capabilities, but has also demonstrated its utility as an air and marine surveillance radar.

The Umkhonto vertical-launch SAM system was developed by Denel Dynamics for the SAN's MEKO A200-class frigates and is in service in Block 1 and Block 2 versions.

The Block 2 differs from the Block 1 primarily in that it has a seeker that is better suited to look-down engagements in a cluttered littoral environment and a 15 km range (3 km further than the Block 1).

The Block 2 is also in service with the Finnish Navy's Hamina-class corvettes and Hämeenmaa-class mine layers and is reported to have been selected by the Algerian Navy for its new MEKO frigates.

The SAN has carried out multiple successful Umkhonto launches against LOCATS and Skua high-speed targets, and the Finnish Navy has scored kinetic kills against Banshee targets with at least three telemetry rounds.

The SAN has also demonstrated the Umkhonto in its alternate anti-ship role, which showed that pre-fragmented warheads would destroy most of a warship's sensor antennas.

Denel is working on developing extended-range (beyond 20 km) and radar-guided, all-weather versions of the Umkhonto.

The Umkhonto-IR is the land-based version of the Umkhonto naval SAM. (Denel Dynamics)The Umkhonto-IR is the land-based version of the Umkhonto naval SAM. (Denel Dynamics)

(469 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.


  • Guided Clean Area Weapon (G-CLAW)

    Type Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) inertial navigation system/GPS Guided Glide Weapon. Development Textron Systems has developed the Guided Clean Area Weapon (G-CLAW) system for munitions delivery from manned or unmanned aerial vehicles. The G-CLAW is an improved variant of

  • Tien Chien II (Sky Sword 2)

    Type Active radar-guided air-to-air missile. Development Development of what became the Tien Chien II (Sky Sword 2) air-to-air missile dates back to the early 1980s and resulted in an ambitious plan to produce an active-radar guided beyond visual range weapon at a time when equivalent missiles

  • YJ-8K (C-801K), YJ-82K (C-802K), YJ-83K (C-802AK), YJ-83KH (CM-802AKG)

    Type Radar-guided anti-ship missile. Development The YJ-8 (Ying Ji, 'Eagle Strike') is a follow-on system to the first generation of Chinese anti-ship missiles that evolved from the HJ-2 (export designation C-201) and YJ-6 (C-601) families. The HJ-2 and YJ-6 series had their origins in the 'Styx'

  • BLG-120, BLG-204 and BLG-252 cluster bombs

    Type Cluster bomb, multi-purpose. Development The BLG-120, BLG-204 and BLG-252 are bomb grenade launchers (cluster bombs), developed in the 1990s by the Brazilian aerospace and defence metallurgy firm Target (TARGET - Engenharia Indústria e Comércio Ltda.) and the Força Aérea

  • Fastlight

    Type Precision and guided munitions. Development The Fastlight is a GPS guided, compact and precision glide bomb developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI) for Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and friendly customers. The Fastlight is designed as a low-cost weapon for close air support aircraft to


Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.