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South African missiles/rockets/PGM's - Prototypes, Projects, Concepts, etc.

Graugrun

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Taking advantage of the fact that this is still a prototype (production will only start in 2015), here is some info on the A-Darter AAM.

First mentioned in late 1994 as being about two years away from development - and then finally revealed in mid 1997, it languished on the back-burner for many years until a joint development contract was signed with Brazil in 2006.

Targets can designated by the aircraft's radar, pilot's helmet sight or autonomously using the A-Darter's own auto-scan feature (which apparently is extremely fast and precise, locking onto targets in just one scan 98% of the time). Little is published about it's range, however one or two reports mention 25 km's. Thrust vectoring and helmet sight designation naturally allow for over the shoulder shots - a high sensitivity two colour thermal imaging seeker includes a multimode ECCM suite. High off-boresight capability (90 degrees IIRC) and very low smoke and launch signature (much more difficult for the aircraft being attacked to realise a AAM has been launched against him - note launch pic in brochure below).

Various smart digital processing allows improved performance in terms of image detection, ECCM, false target rejection and guidance and control. The feedback from the Swedish test Gripen pilots who tested it and who are very familiar with IRIS-T was that it had some benefits over IRIS-T and is a actually "a very cool missile".

That's all good and well though AFAIC, it needs to be battle tested to really prove itself and determine how good it really is. For example we learnt a few lessons in that regard during our Border War - take the French Magic AAM we had used (amongst others), it showed a clear tendency to constantly detonate prematurely about 10 meters or so behind the exhaust plume of of the target aircraft (as a couple of our gun camera photos testify to - as soon as I re-find them I will post) - a couple of Cuban/Russian Mig 23 pilots can thank their lucky stars for that!

An interesting link with pics to some of our air-air encounters/combat with the Russians/Cubans in Angola here: http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_184.shtml

Further envisaged development include a A-Darter light, A-Darter Extended Range, and a ASM version. There are also projects to develop an A-Darter Mk2 and later a Mk3.

Below is an earlier brochure (before Brazil joined) and a later one - the later development has shorter strakes and four small fins near the seeker nose.
 

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Graugrun

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Early test launch of A-Darter using U-Darter's motor as a booster (non guided flight - validating various of it's basic aerodynamic aspects).
 

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Graugrun

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Just a snippet from the latest CSIR brochure (2014) on their recently restarted mini turbine engine development/projects (mostly for cruise missile/PGM purposes).
 

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Graugrun

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Two small pics depicting early concepts of the Denel Dynamics (formally Kentron) Umbani PGM, The 3rd pic shows a much later prototype under the wing of a SAAF Hawk. This later evolved a bit more and has now been re-branded the Al-Tariq (and will be manufactured jointly in and with the UAE).
 

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Graugrun

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Another missile that I am taking advantage of (it's finally just going into production). It's another one that's been languishing around for many, many years... The Mokopa (Sotho for the Mamba snake). It was developed as our version of the US Hellfire missile (including being the exact same 178mm diameter), as we had very little chance then of getting Hellfire for our Rooivalk attack Helicopters.

It's range is a little greater then Hellfire I believe (now up to 10 km IIRC) but currently only uses a semi-active laser homing seeker. Right from the start though it was intended to be modular in terms of having both mmW and IIR seekers, as well as tandem, fragmentation and penetration warheads. My understanding is that AMS, (who developed the 'BARB' boosted anti-radiation bomb as per the first page in this thread), where quite far advanced with the mmW (millimeter wave) seeker development around 1992.

The reason it's finally heading for production is that the Algerian navy have chosen it to equip their newly purchased navy Lynx helicopters (or are they Wildcats?). These will be deployed from their newly purchased German Meko 200 AN frigates.

The Algerian purchase (and therefore production) may at last also pave the way for us to get them equipped and integrated on the Rooivalks.

Article from Janes IDR July 1999 - note the very low signature (smokeless) launch - I've also attached pics of two different target strikes during early tests, in which it seems to be rather accurate.
 

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Graugrun

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A pic of Mokopa being launched from Rooivalk (many years ago) - note once again the very low launch signature. I'm sure this was part of the initial basic testing, just for aerodynamic/separation purposes. They have now completed full loop testing (guided) from Rooivalk, although I believe they made use of a ground based laser designator (as the missile is not yet fully integrated with Rooivalk..?). The other two scans include the front of an old brochure and the rear of a newer one.
 

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Graugrun

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Some pics I took of Mokopa at some of the AAD shows, giving a rough idea of Mokopa's size compared to the laser beam riding Ingwe missile (TOW equivalent), Ingwe's probe houses the precursor HEAT charge, Mokopa has a built in precursor HEAT charge to defeat reactive armour plates.
 

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Graugrun

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Two pics of an earlier model of the project Marlin AMRAAM, shown at the LAAD 2013 defence show in Brazil, the 3rd pic is the latest model shown at AAD 2014. The later model has an elongated nose section, a sharper nose and it's mid fins are more angled back - just the model maker's interpretation or a true reflection of it's developmental progress...?
 

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Matt R.

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Graugrun said:
Nice pics Kaiserbill,

I had read some Somchen brochure in the past that stated that the very first picture you posted was in fact one of Somchen's ramjet artillery designs, it worked as a sort sabot within a 155mm artillery shell, sacrificing payload (size and therefore HE filling) for extreme range (for an artillery shell). It was all part of the 'Loosvoor' (Well-ahead) artillery program, unfortunately AFAIK it was not developed further for either practicality or funding reasons - hopefully someone can fill us in some more on this very interesting and perhaps unique project (pictured again below)
As of November 2011, research of SFRJ artillery projectiles was still alive, apparently under a programme named "Project Cloud". See for instance : Cloud Takes A Step Forward.
 

kaiserbill

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I think the Impala 2 did a bit of disimilar air combat training.


I recall reading something along the lines that they could be a handful if operated by a skilled pilot.


2 more pics below, over Langebaanweg on the West Coast, where a lot of exercises were done.

Note the underwing flare/chaff dispensors, and RwR on the wing tip tanks...
 

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Bill Walker

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A work colleague of mine, former SAAF Flight Test, has told me that the AAM installation on the Impala was developed very quickly in the last half of the 1980s, in order to counter Hinds encountered over one of the northern neighbours of SA.
 

kaiserbill

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That would make sense, Bill.


There was that operation in 1985 that downed 6 helicopters (4 Hinds and 2 Mi-17's) over southern Angola using the Impala, but those were carried out using the twin 30mm DEFA cannon in the end.


http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_183.shtml


I think the Impala was used on CAP over the border region, so I suppose it would make sense to equip them with a better weapon for potential anti-helicopter operations.
 

sa_bushwar

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Rooivalk prototype seen in 1994 on a visit to Port Elizabeth. Fitted with a V3B AA missile. The Rooivalk attack helicopter developed into mainly a ground attack and fire support machine. Does anyone know if the AA capability was developed further and integrated into the production model operated by 16 Sqn in Bloemfontein?
 

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sa_bushwar

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sa_bushwar said:
Rooivalk prototype seen in 1994 on a visit to Port Elizabeth. Fitted with a V3B AA missile. The Rooivalk attack helicopter developed into mainly a ground attack and fire support machine. Does anyone know if the AA capability was developed further and integrated into the production model operated by 16 Sqn in Bloemfontein?
Another early Rooivalk prototype (seen here in 1996) with the V3B AA missile. Production Rooivalk does not have a weapons hard point on the end of the stubby wings.

Note the difference between the engine intakes (debris filters) and the heat suppression on the engine outlets of these 2 prototypes. Further differences are in the prototype instrumentation on the nose, and antennas below the tail.
 

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sa_bushwar

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sa_bushwar said:
sa_bushwar said:
Rooivalk prototype seen in 1994 on a visit to Port Elizabeth. Fitted with a V3B AA missile. The Rooivalk attack helicopter developed into mainly a ground attack and fire support machine. Does anyone know if the AA capability was developed further and integrated into the production model operated by 16 Sqn in Bloemfontein?
Another early Rooivalk prototype (seen here in 1996) with the V3B AA missile. Production Rooivalk does not have a weapons hard point on the end of the stubby wings.

Note the difference between the engine intakes (debris filters) and the heat suppression on the engine outlets of these 2 prototypes. Further differences are in the prototype instrumentation on the nose, and antennas below the tail.
And another view...
 

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Graugrun

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Just a quick update on the Impi missile - now being called the 'Impi-S' - it's pictured under the wing of the Denel Seeker 400 armed UAV (armed version being designated as the 'Snyper'). According to the article 4 X Impi-S missile can be carried, still allowing for 40Kg's worth of an Optronics package. With a total carrying weight of 100 Kg for the Seeker 400, this means the Impi-S missile must weigh about 15 Kg's each.

Once again there is confirmation that it is derived from components of the Mokopa and Ingwe missiles. It looks rather different from the first Impi missile mock-up first displayed under the wing of a mock-up Seeker 400 at one of the AAD shows a few years ago.

It seems that the Impi-S is finally being fully developed - attached pic is from the article.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38129:weaponised-seeker-400-debuts-at-idex&catid=35:Aerospace&Itemid=107
 

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panzerskool

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Cape Vidal Missile Test Range


As a kid in the late 70's or very early 80's we spent a week up in Cape Vidal and i remember being stopped on the Beach North of Cape Vidal by army guys which must have been around the old missile test range. Does anyone know anything about this now demolished site which was used for many surface test of rockets and missiles between 1968 when it was opened and 1997 when it was demolished ?
 

sa_bushwar

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panzerskool said:
Cape Vidal Missile Test Range


As a kid in the late 70's or very early 80's we spent a week up in Cape Vidal and i remember being stopped on the Beach North of Cape Vidal by army guys which must have been around the old missile test range. Does anyone know anything about this now demolished site which was used for many surface test of rockets and missiles between 1968 when it was opened and 1997 when it was demolished ?
Used as an Artillery test range. Have seen pictures of the G5 and Valkiri being tested here.
 

panzerskool

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read an environmental report on the area and how they have found lots of unexploded munitions over the years. Its not the flattest type of range like Lohatla or Potch but maybe mimicked the Angolan thick bush of Southern Angola.


Not much written anywhere about places like this or Rooi els or silvermine etc which is a shame as a lost generation of information will never be known (like Carva )
 

kaiserbill

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Speaking about coastal test ranges....


I was googling a while back, and came across this:


http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC2MNEF_jericho-2?guid=12dc8bfd-f491-48a2-a2c4-61e422fc69ad


It seems to be some sort of "search" site for members edification.


Either way, just past halfway down the page, after this description below, the poster placed these attachments that I've attached below.
You can view them on the site too.
It is to do with the RSA Ballistic Missile.
I obviously can't verify the authenticity of these.
Does this look genuine?


During a return visit to Houwteq some years later, I found a local University giving a handful of Central African students some very basic electronics training on equipment that was capable of so much more. I walked through the development areas of the facility and found myself in the remote HRO area. Most of the equipment had been removed from this area and the room was basically derelict. In the corner was an old filing cabinet. In it I found some old documentation pertaining to the launch of RSA-1 and RSA-2. I have attached it as additional data.
 

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kaiserbill

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The second attachment seems to imply a range reached of 1600km when the vehicle was still at an altitude of just over 250km.
It also seems to show on another graph that there was a seperate second acceleration 300 seconds after launch.


I was under the impression that released information stated that only "a booster was tested, splashing down in the South Atlantic after 1500km" to paraphrase what is out there.
This though seems to imply that there were 2 stages, and that the altitude was still 250km after 1600km was reached.


Unless I have it all wrong?
Ballistic missiles aren't my forte.


Certainly though, I see what was meant when I've seen it intimated (in books and by people I've conversed with) that the missile/nuclear/space programme was a whole lot further evolved than the official line that was spun by the politicians when it was all ended.
 

TomS

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Geocaching is a sort of game where one person hides a box or marker and then provides clues so others can find it. Sometimes the clues are simple, sometimes they are quite elaborate. In this case, it seems quite involved and I believe a lot of the story is a series of obfuscated clues. I would not have a lot of confidence in those documents. The "FAX" for example is in a code of some sort and is probably another clue. The graphs may well be clues too, rather than actual historical documents.
 

sa_bushwar

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kaiserbill said:
The second attachment seems to imply a range reached of 1600km when the vehicle was still at an altitude of just over 250km.
It also seems to show on another graph that there was a seperate second acceleration 300 seconds after launch.


I was under the impression that released information stated that only "a booster was tested, splashing down in the South Atlantic after 1500km" to paraphrase what is out there.
This though seems to imply that there were 2 stages, and that the altitude was still 250km after 1600km was reached.


Unless I have it all wrong?
Ballistic missiles aren't my forte.


Certainly though, I see what was meant when I've seen it intimated (in books and by people I've conversed with) that the missile/nuclear/space programme was a whole lot further evolved than the official line that was spun by the politicians when it was all ended.
Here is another graphical representation of a typical 3-stage launch sequence of the RSA3; - delivering a satellite to space or a warhead over long distance?
 

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TomS

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sa_bushwar

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curious george

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*off fb

"May 1988: The Mirage F1AZ became part of the H2 weapon system after the bush war was over. Here we see a 1 Sqn Mirage F1AZ - 242 at Upington during the 3rd H2 bomb trails camp held there together with the Buccaneers of 24 Sqn, loaded with an H2 Bomb under the belly and an H2 communications pod under the starboard wing."
 

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kaiserbill

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That is interesting, earlier than I thought for the Mirage F1.
Thanks CG.

Note the black antennae for the RWR just behind the laser housing and near the tip of the vertical tail, which was part of the RIMS (Radar and Infra Red Misleading system) that was fitted near the end. Other parts of the system can't be seen from this angle however.
 

Graugrun

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Another update, this time on Umkhonto's (SAM) nose cone developments, allowing for extended range, I would assume this would also keep the glass domed (or sapphire crystal) seeker nose much cooler, thus improving detection range and accuracy once it's active - it has not yet been fully developed or tested, so I thought I would post it here.

Interesting that by using interns etc, it's only cost them about $ 9000.00 to develop it thus far!

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=42458:denel-dynamics-develops-expendable-nose-cone-to-increase-missile-range&catid=7:Industry&Itemid=116
 

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