Missile seeker undergoes testing at Denel OTR as facilities are upgraded


Denel has successfully tested the radar seeker on its new beyond visual range missile with a successful launch at the Denel Overberg Test Range (OTR), which is busy receiving upgrades to its telemetry system.

Denel said the recent testing of the Denel Dynamics-developed radar-guided missile has opened the door to the eventual, full scale development of the missile.

The launch of what must be the Marlin missile took place at the Denel OTR in the Southern Cape and, according to Denel Insights, is a major step in technology building on earlier ballistic missile firings.

The Denel missile was launched from a ground-based frame/launcher elevated to 35 degrees. The target drone was a LOCATS aircraft operated by Mechatronics, a business unit of Denel Vehicle Systems (DVS).

The missile’s seeker acquired track on the target prior to launch and then guided the missile to target. The missile used a dual pulse rocket for propulsion. The seeker tracked the target in range, velocity and angles and fed guidance data to the missile’s onboard control processor.

The missile was launched 4km from the target flying at 2kmabove sea level. Range separation between missile and target was less than 12m – an exceptional achievement, the publication noted.

The Marlin is a technology demonstrator being developed for Armscor and the Department of Defence. It may be developed into a surface-to-air version and used by the SAAF, which at the moment has no beyond-visual-range missile. Marlin will have an estimated top speed of Mach 4.

The Denel OTR is busy with a telemetry upgrade, which come in the wake of a research and development project to determine a replacement for the computer system at both OTR’s fixed telemetry facilities – MS2 and Infanta.

The aim of the research was to decide on how best to replace the system in the shortest downtime window and preserve all capabilities of the telemetry system computer. Another objective was possible replacement of computers at both MS2 and Infanta using the same type of hardware and generic type software.

The existing system was installed in 1986 and is rapidly nearing obsolescence. There are concerns some primary functions might be lost completely if the system becomes unserviceable.

The development project was executed while normal operations at MS2 carried on. A special interface was built to run the system under development in parallel with the existing system. This was done to compare operations and results in real time and to optimise developed software, Denel said.

A number of test missions were conducted with the research and development team able to report results analysed and proven to be accurate and correct.