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Fact file: Denel ZT3 Ingwe precision guided missile

The Ingwe (Leopard) missile and associated launch systems were developed in the 1980s under Project Raleigh as a “long-range indigenous antitank guided missile.” Pre-production models were used in Operation Modular in Angola with good effect in late 1987. This was introduced to service, mounted in a triple launcher atop a modified Ratel infantry combat vehicle, as the ZT3.

The ZT3 is a laser beam-rider. The missile automatically determines its own position in the laser beam and manoeuvres onto the line of sight (LOS). The missile follows the LOS until the target is hit. Later models have tandem warheads capable of defeating ERA. The sighting system can vary from a non-stabilised optic sight for light vehicles to a stabilised day/night sight mounted on moving platforms such as helicopters. Automatic target modules can be added to ensure fully automatic missile guidance after target lock-on by the operator.

The Department of Defence (DoD) in 2002 said the South African Army's Armoured Corps had 16 Ratel ZT3 in service and a further 36 in store. According to the DoD Annual Report 2005/6, 13 launchers were upgraded and 80 ZT3A2 missiles were delivered to the Army in 2005 as part of Project Adrift. This programme sought to upgrade the ZT3 anti-armour missile to the ZT3A2 Ingwe baseline standard. Four systems were successfully tested during exercises at De Brug in October-November 2005.

Denel Dynamics in May 2010 said it and its subcontractor, Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, were working on a new series of warheads for Ingwe. “As you know Ingwe was developed as an antitank missile,” said Denel Dynamics CE Jan Wessels in an interview with defenceWeb. “But the threat profile has changed completely over the past decade or so. As a result customers now want to use it as a generic precision land-attack missile, against bunkers, observation posts, even buildings. So we are looking at multi-purpose warheads. RDM and ourselves are working on technology concepts to offer alternative warheads other than just the highly successful tandem (dual) antitank warhead.”

The multi-purpose warhead will have some penetration capability but also blast. The company have also done “some studies” on thermobaric warheads. “We know what the technology can offer,” Wessels said.

He noted major activities on the Ingwe programme included developing the missile variant of the Badger infantry combat vehicle as part of Project Hoefyster and integrating the weapon on the Eurocopter EC635 and AS550 Fennec light utility helicopters. “We think that's got a lot of potential,” Wessels said of the latter collaboration that is done for Franco-South African aerospace company ATE. “The fact that they selected the Ingwe missile … once ATE and Eurocopter has installed our missile and we perform as I know we will, I see a very bright future...

“The Ingwe is a good match for a light helicopter like that. It must be a balanced package. The missile cost must be appropriate to that of the helicopter..” Wessels credited the choice of Ingwe to positive feedback from other customers where Denel Dynamics and ATE integrated the weapon onto the Mil Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopter. “... the feedback is phenomenal. The message is that Ingwe works really well off a helicopter.” Although Wessels declined to name the customers because of confidentiality agreements, it is widely known that they include Algeria.

Type:

Multipurpose long-range beam-riding precision guided missile.

Numbers:

16 Ratel ZT3 in service, 36 in store. (DoD figure, 2002), 13 systems upgraded from ZT3 to ZT3A2 baseline standard during Project Adrift.

Cost:

 

Associated project names:

Raleigh, Adrift

Manufacturer:

Denel.

System components:

Missile, laser projection unit (integrated with vehicle system) and guidance and control units (integrated with vehicle system).

General:

The ZT3 is a laser beam-rider. The missile automatically determines its own position in the laser beam and manoeuvres onto the line of sight (LOS). The missile follows the LOS until the target is hit.

 

The sighting system can vary from a non-stabilised optic sight for light vehicles to a stabilised day/night sight mounted on moving platforms such as helicopters. Automatic target modules can be added to ensure fully automatic missile guidance after target lock-on by the operator.

Missile:

  • Range:

  • Dimensions:

  • Length:

  • Diameter:

  • Weight:

  • Airspeed:

  • Velocity:

  • Flight time:

  • Penetration:

 

0.21.75m.

 

5 to 5km.

0.127m.

28.5kg (launch).

Over 200km/h.

330m/s.

18 seconds to 4km.

1m rolled homogenous armour with explosive reactive armour (ERA).

Comment:

Likely a development from the Israeli Mapatz ATGM, itself an improved version of the US TOW1. The TOW was designed from 1962, was first fired in 1968 and was used in combat at An oc in South Vietnam in 1972, where, launched from helicopters they stopped repeated North Vietnamese tank attacks. By the mid-1980s over 350 000 missiles had been manufactured.

 

1 In 1992 the author inspected a demonstration model of the missile at a Port Elizabeth agricultural show. Unbelievably, prominent parts of this model were marked “Made in Haifa”. The ZT3/Ingwe has similar dimensions to the US missile and both use a triple launcher.

 






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