The Iraqi Army Air Corps’ EC635 light helicopters are now armed with machineguns, cannons, rockets and Ingwe missiles provided by South Africa and Airbus Helicopters.
Iraq ordered 24 EC635s in 2009, with the first two being delivered in June 2011. The Iraqi Army has used its EC635s to combat Islamic State militants. Earlier this year footage emerged of the helicopters attacking Islamic State soft skinned vehicles using rockets and .50 calibre machineguns.
defenceWeb has learnt that the contract for Ingwe anti-tank missiles for the helicopters was recently concluded with Airbus Helicopters.
Some five years ago Eurocopter, as Airbus Helicopters then was, approached Denel Dynamics about integrating the missile onto its EC635 as part of the Stand Alone Weapon System (SAWS) weapons kit.
The SAWS was jointly designed, developed, manufactured and supported by Eurocopter and Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE – now Paramount Advanced Technologies). The two companies announced they had begun flight testing the system at the Murray Hill Test Range near Pretoria in September 2010. In December 2011 ATE concluded Ingwe firing trials aboard the EC 635.
SAWS is suitable for any Airbus Helicopters light and medium helicopter products. The package features a Belgian FN Herstal HMP–400 12.7 mm machine gun, a French Nexter NC-621 20mm cannon, FZ-233 70 mm rockets and Denel’s Ingwe anti-tank missile.
The SAWS typically comprises a core element including a Mission & Firing Control Computer, together with controls and components to interface the crew and the platform; a choice of sensors (FLIR, TV, HUD, HMSD); guided and unguided weapons.
The Ingwe is in service on South African Army Ratel infantry fighting vehicles, the new Badger infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and is fitted to turrets supplied to Malaysia for its 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles.
Denel Dynamics is now working on the IPLS tripod/vehicle mounted Ingwe, which will be test-fired around October/November this year. The company said the IPLS mount is crew but not man portable and ideal for integration onto light vehicles.
Paramount is currently promoting its FLASH multi-platform modular mission system for helicopters. This includes a stabilised sight, mission computer, mission display, weapons control panel and weapons (12.7 mm gun pod, 20 mm cannon, 70 mm rockets and Ingwe anti-tank missiles).