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Author Topic: South African missiles/rockets/PGM's - Prototypes, Projects, Concepts, etc.  (Read 77085 times)

Offline Graugrun

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I think it necessary to lay some background for this thread - it will go a long way to creating some understanding for an outsider into why some a lot of the concepts we were developing were being done (and even those we did complete). It may not have made sense to a NATO country to develop - but then we were not a NATO country and we were certainly not fighting the type of war, or under the battle conditions they would have expected to.

I rate our relatively unknown 23 year "Border War" (1966-1989) as the 3rd to 4th largest of the "Cold Wars", after the Korean and Vietnam wars, but ahead of the Soviet Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the relatively short and sharp (but very little in-between) Middle East wars of the time.

What initially started out as a low intensity conflict, it escalated into a fierce and finally semi-conventional war, indirectly involving the two superpowers Soviet Russia and the USA. Although at it's peak we never committed more than 3000 Troops (not counting the Angolan UNITA soldiers), it is generally accepted that we faced the following: 55,000 Cubans, 3,000 Soviets, 2,000 East Germans and a sprinkling of Ukrainian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Polish, North Korean and at least 40,000 Marxist FAPLA/SWAPO/ANC soldiers. These elements were backed by billions of dollars of some of the most advanced Soviet weaponry of the time, including MiG 23's/27's, Mi24/25 Hind gunships, T-55/T-62 tanks and various SAMs, radars and other equipment. These were led by Soviet generals, some of whom were veterans of the Afghanistan war.

According to "Air Wars and Aircraft" - Victor Flintham (Arms and Armour, London 1989) "...by early 1988, the (Angolan) air defence system was the most sophisticated of Soviet origin outside the Warsaw Pact countries. It comprised 75 mobile radar sets, 40 MiG-21's and 40 MiG-23's, SA-2, SA-3, SA-6, SA-8, SA-9, and SA-13 SAMs, ZSU-23 AAA and the man portable SA-7 and SA-14 missiles. This impressive range of equipment failed to deter the SAAF, which continued its strikes against SWAPO (and other) targets." - So much so that some of the most advanced Soviet weapons of the time which fell into Western hands were those captured by the South Africans, including the first captured Soviet SAM-8 and SAM-9/13 surface-to-air missile systems.

The first weapon in this thread is the BARB (Boosted Anti-Radiation Bomb) - and is in essence is a poor man's HARM/ALARM type of weapon. It seems to have been developed and tested to some degree, perhaps someone with more knowledge can add to this. It had a 127mm rocket in the tail to boost it's range and/or give it some sort of stand-off ability. It was also generally meant to be toss-bombed.

Towards the end of the war, the "other side" had complete control of the airspace - our Airforce had to perfect the "long toss-bombing technique", as we had no smart bombs for stand-off delivery and as described above operated in an extremely hostile air environment. I have included a brief description of toss bombing below, with a diagram for further ease of understanding (diagram from "From fledgling to Eagle" - Brig-Gen Dick Lord, and is for reference and discussion purposes only).

The toss-bombing technique perfected by the SAAF was the opposite of generally accepted tactics of the day. Instead of flying into enemy territory at great height and then diving at great speeds to deliver their bombs, the SAAF Mirages flew into their targets at 50 meters above the ground, then rose up steep and fast, while 7-8 km's from the target, releasing their bombs and thus "lobbing" them onto the target, then immediately returning to a height of 30 meters to fly home.


« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 12:16:20 pm by Graugrun »

Offline Graugrun

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Apologies - finger trouble - this was meant to be included in the above post - the 2nd page of the BARB brochure....

Offline kaiserbill

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I don't know if BARB ever entered service.
It was sensible at the time to develope this, but I've never seen it shown nor described in the SAAF inventory.
This of course does not necessarily mean anything.
There are very few pics out there of BARB. I've only ever seen a couple, along with this picture below, of what I think is a BARB.
It looks to have the same light blue paint scheme, which isn't a colour normally associated with an operational weapon.
I assume the 127mm booster is taken off the Valkyrie/Bataleur Multiple Rocket Launcher rockets?

Offline Graugrun

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Kaiserbill - I don't think that's BARB in your picture, it has similar/the same fins and size, however if you look at the nose, your one looks more like a laser guided bomb. Interestingly enough the company (AMS) who developed BARB, also developed a laser guided 120mm mortar around at the same time (all circa 1992). It may just be that they were the original developers of our early laser guided bombs too (I thought we had bought the Israeli Lizard LGB - or did that come much later, or was the Lizard just license built by AMS for us?)

You are correct regards the 127mm rocket coming from the Valkyrie MRL rocket system, an AMS rep at the time confirmed that to me - said it made perfect sense in keeping things both simple and very cost effective.

AFAIK - the BARB was never taken on officially by the SAAF, perhaps someone with that knowledge can confirm this for us - perhaps it was sold to another country? - Anyhow, below is another brochure from AMS given out at the next DEXSA show (1994).

Offline kaiserbill

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Kaiserbill - I don't think that's BARB in your picture, it has similar/the same fins and size, however if you look at the nose, your one looks more like a laser guided bomb.


After another look, you're quite correct.
It appears to be a LGB of some type, most likely the IAI Griffin or local derivitive.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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You are correct regards the 127mm rocket coming from the Valkyrie MRL rocket system, an AMS rep at the time confirmed that to me - said it made perfect sense in keeping things both simple and very cost effective.


The Valkyrie 127mm rocket was itself a reuse of the design of the AIM-9B Sidewinder rocket motor copied in South Africa. So its a case of circular development when a aircraft weapon is reused for land use and then reused back for aircraft deployment.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline TomS

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The overall concept (and especially the laser-guided version in the photograph) reminds me of the USN's Skipper II from the mid-1980s, which combined a Shrike motor with a 1,000-lb Paveway II LGB.  It was a nice quick-and-dirty way to add standoff range without a huge development effort.

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Could be a Griffin LGB?
"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
- Sir Sydney Camm

Offline kaiserbill

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Could be a Griffin LGB?

I think the LGB that I posted in front of the Cheetah is, on reflection.
In that photo, there is another similar weapon to the right, but with larger rear fins.

Offline Graugrun

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Could be a Griffin LGB?

I think the LGB that I posted in front of the Cheetah is, on reflection.
In that photo, there is another similar weapon to the right, but with larger rear fins.

The one on the right could just be a larger 250 Kg version - the smaller one on the left being 120 Kg...?

Staying on the laser theme - I am posting this in this forum as it seems most appropriate - the very seldom mentioned Kentron KZ2 Laser designator pod. I have only seen reference to it three times, this article being by far the most detailed.

Nothing has ever come up after that - I have my own theories (mostly involving Pakistan), hopefully someone can fill us in and or provide some photos... How far was it developed/tested, was it further improved to try to bring it up to the level of LANTIRN/Litening etc...etc?

Article courtesy of Flight International, March/April 1997.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 05:28:58 am by Graugrun »

Offline kaiserbill

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Graugrun, what do you know of the various cruise missile type munitions?
I recall the MUPSOW, which was originally listed as having a range of 300km+ (I believe it was more), before magically shrinking down to around 150km, for clear reasons. ;)
Then the Torgos.
Some of the recent weapons from the Middle East seem to have a lot of influence from particularly the MUPSOW, as well as other SA UAV's, as Overscan (PaulMM) picked up in the Iranian Karrar thread from 4 years back.
What engine powers these munitions?
The APA-1 gas turbine as mentioned in the aviation thread lead to that small turbofan in the same thread that was displayed afterwards.
 
Then, there is the long range cruise missile developed by South Africa, which we can see these days in a much different role or format.  ;)
I recall when seeing it first (first powerd flight 1990) that it was obvious what its original role was, even before it was mooted in a certain book...
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 12:27:05 pm by kaiserbill »

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Could be a Griffin LGB?

I think the LGB that I posted in front of the Cheetah is, on reflection.
In that photo, there is another similar weapon to the right, but with larger rear fins.

The one on the right could just be a larger 250 Kg version - the smaller one on the left being 120 Kg...?

Staying on the laser theme - I am posting this in this forum as it seems most appropriate - the very seldom mentioned Kentron KZ2 Laser designator pod. I have only seen reference to it three times, this article being by far the most detailed.

Nothing has ever come up after that - I have my own theories (mostly involving Pakistan), hopefully someone can fill us in and or provide some photos... How far was it developed/tested, was it further improved to try to bring it up to the level of LANTIRN/Litening etc...etc?

Article courtesy of Flight International, March/April 1997.


Well, it would have looked somewhat like this, as it supposed to use the Raptor II command pod:
"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
- Sir Sydney Camm

Offline Graugrun

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Thanks for the pic Paul - and yes the article states that it would be based on the H2 comms pod - however note the 2nd type (shorter and fatter) "HAT-pod" next to the Raptor 2, the comms pod being on the opposite side -  input/comments anyone?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 07:20:35 am by Graugrun »

Offline Graugrun

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Graugrun, what do you know of the various cruise missile type munitions?
I recall the MUPSOW, which was originally listed as having a range of 300km+ (I believe it was more), before magically shrinking down to around 150km, for clear reasons. ;)
Then the Torgos.
Some of the recent weapons from the Middle East seem to have a lot of influence from particularly the MUPSOW, as well as other SA UAV's, as Overscan (PaulMM) picked up in the Iranian Karrar thread from 4 years back.
What engine powers these munitions?
The APA-1 gas turbine as mentioned in the aviation thread lead to that small turbofan in the same thread that was displayed afterwards.
 
Then, there is the long range cruise missile developed by South Africa, which we can see these days in a much different role or format.  ;)
I recall when seeing it first (first powerd flight 1990) that it was obvious what its original role was, even before it was mooted in a certain book...

Kaiserbill - I was intending to start with the small, basic stuff - head onto the more interesting stuff and end off with the multiple MIRVed, nuclear warhead ICBM's we had/and were developing - thought It would be best to ease the unknowing casual/outside observer into things a little....

In terms of the small stuff, this perhaps just gets into the missile category by virtue of it being rocket assisted and also it's laser guidance. This was already far in the testing phase and almost ready for production, obviously fell victim to the huge defense cuts with the Border War ending at that time.

I would guess one of it's intended roles would be for Special Forces attacking high value targets within convoys and on airfields etc, deep within enemy lines (as they so often did in Angola). While the article (Defence Minister and Chief of Staff No.3/1989) mentions Armscor as being behind the development, the actual company involved is AMS, the same as for the BARB bomb above.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 10:13:01 am by Graugrun »

Offline Graugrun

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A novel (anti-surface) warhead design by Somchem for the Gabriel anti-shipping missile.

It's rather different and interesting in it's approach, I wonder how much further it was taken - was it fully developed, sold to anyone else, or did anyone else perhaps pick up on it and use it or something similar for their own purposes?

Article at the bottom is courtesy Jane's IDR 1/1997.