CONTENT PREVIEW
Naval Weapons

Algerian Navy set to trial Umkhonto Block 2

14 December 2016

Key Points

  • Denel Dynamics expects to complete deliveries of 100 Umkhonto Block 2 missiles by the end of January 2017
  • A ground-launched version of Umkhonto is proposed for the South African Army's Ground-Based Air Defence System Phase II (GBADS II) project

The Algerian Navy intends to conduct a live-fire exercise with the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto infrared (IR)-homing surface-to-air missile (SAM) early in 2017. The missile was ordered in 2012 as part of the combat system of the two Meko A200 frigates built for the Algerian Navy, with each ship fitted with a 32-cell vertical launch system for the Umkhonto. Denel Dynamics expects to complete deliveries of 100 Umkhonto Block 2 missiles by the end of January 2017.

An Umkhonto SAM being launched from a Finnish Navy Hämeenmaa-class minelayer, demonstrating its low launch signature. The Finnish Navy has fitted the Umkhonto system to both its Hämeenmaa-class platforms and its more modern four Hamina-class missile fast attack craft. (Denel Dynamics)An Umkhonto SAM being launched from a Finnish Navy Hämeenmaa-class minelayer, demonstrating its low launch signature. The Finnish Navy has fitted the Umkhonto system to both its Hämeenmaa-class platforms and its more modern four Hamina-class missile fast attack craft. (Denel Dynamics)

The Algerian Navy has also acquired the Denel Dynamics 10 km range laser-homing Mokopa missile for the Super Lynx 300-series helicopters that will operate from the frigates. IHS Jane's understands that the Mokopa missiles for the Algerian Navy may be fitted with a blast/fragmentation warhead from Rheinmetall Denel Munition to better suit them to anti-ship use than the standard HEAT warhead. The Mokopa can be guided using direct designation by the helicopter, or remote designation by another platform. Its modular design allows for different warheads and different seekers, for instance Imaging TV or MM Wave.

The Umkhonto Block 2 is a 135 kg, Mach 2 IR-homing SAM with a range of 15 km and a ceiling of 8,000 m. It uses mid-course updates from the ship's radar to optimise its flightpath to where the IR-seeker acquires the target and takes over guidance. The basic Umkhonto system can deal with four targets simultaneously. Apart from the range improvement over the Block 1 missile, the Block 2 also has a further-refined IR seeker with better look-down capability in a cluttered littoral environment, which should also enhance its effectiveness in its secondary anti-surface mode.

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