Firsts for Denel Dynamics in close area protection system development


Denel Dynamics has achieved another milestone in the development of its technology demonstrator missile – the Mongoose 3 – part of the close area protection system (CAPS) project funded jointly by Armscor and the Department of Defence (DoD).

According to the latest edition of Denel Insights, the programme is now at the stage where it is ready to integrate vertical launch and programme flight tests at Armscor’s Alkantpan test range in the Northern Cape.

The missile is part of Denel Dynamics’ Science 4 project under the leadership of programme manager Peter Malan-Cameron and systems engineer Reinart Moraal.

The project has achieved a number of “firsts” in its design, the publication states.
“Through Science 4 Denel Dynamics is developing technology to provide close area protection against rocket, artillery and mortar threats. It uses the Mongoose 3 to intercept these and detonate them at a maximum range of about a kilometre.
“The team developed and built critical components including a laboratory missile, three flight test missiles, a vertical launcher, ground fire control support equipment and a full telemetry system,” according to the Denel publication.

Mongoose 3 is as a test bed for new technologies including: a new type of vertical launch using tip-over rocket motors – a first for Denel Dynamics; dual control airframe technology sees control executed by canards and tail fins, a “world first” Denel claims; and an ultra-capacitor-based low-cost power source which has long uncharged life and provides sufficient energy for 10 seconds of flight.

The Mongoose missile has been developed by Denel for various active protection and counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) systems. Initially Saab Grintek Defence and Reutech Radar Systems worked together with Denel Dynamics on an active protection system (LEDS 150) incorporating the Mongoose 1 missile, which was designed to shoot down an RPG-7 type anti-tank rocket launched as close as 20 metres away, detonating it in flight. In 2014 the Mongoose 2 successfully intercepted an incoming round at 60 metres.

The subsequent Mongoose 3 was designed to shoot down heavy anti-tank missiles as far as 300 metres from the vehicle, and deflect a high-velocity kinetic energy “long-rod penetrator” fired by a tank, causing it to fall short or hit at an oblique angle at which it will not penetrate a tank’s armour.

Saab stopped development of LEDS 150 pending it finding a funding partner and it is assumed that elements of Mongoose 3 may now be used on the Denel Dynamics Cheetah C-RAM system that was unveiled at Africa Aerospace and Defence 2016.

Denel said the Cheetah missile is a completely new system with its own radar seeker that will have a proximity warhead, although it will use technologies that have been developed for other Denel Dynamics missiles.

The Cheetah C-RAM system combines the Rheinmetall Skyshield protection system and Denel’s Cheetah missile system. It is being designed to protect against light weapons, which are increasingly found in the hands of rebels and other irregulars, such as SAM-7 shoulder-fired missiles, light cannons and mortars.