Namibia has ordered AT-14 anti-tank missiles


Namibia has ordered 9M133 Kornet-E (AT-14 Spriggan) anti-tank missiles, with deliveries still to take place. This comes as Namibia has admitted North Korea helped establish a weapons factory in the country.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) arms transfer database, Namibia in 2014 ordered an unspecified number of 9M133 Kornet-E AT-14 Spriggan anti-tank guided missile from Russia, but as of the end of 2015, these had not yet been delivered.

The AT-14 missile was developed by Russia’s KBP Instrument Design Making Bureau, and is in service with the Russian Army. The missile has been exported to Syria, Jordan, the UAE, Kuwait, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, Morocco, Algeria and Greece.

The system can be fired from vehicles or as a standalone system. It features a tandem high explosive anti-tank warhead designed to defeat explosive reactive armour, but can also be fitted with high explosive and thermobaric warheads for use against unarmoured targets. The anti-tank warhead can penetrate 1 200 mm of armour. Guidance is semi-automatic command-to-line-of-sight via laser beam. Range is five kilometres.

Meanwhile, it has emerged from a United Nations report that North Korea assisted Namibia in establishing a weapons factory in the country. A UN Panel of Experts report delivered to the Security Council last month said that North Koreans were involved in a number of ventures in Namibia, including the construction of a munitions factory in Windhoek.

Its existence was confirmed by deputy prime minister and international relations’ minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, The Namibian reports, but the minister said the factory was not in contravention of any UN sanctions against North Korea.

The UN report said that the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (Komid), linked to weapons exports, is linked to Mansudae Overseas Project Group, which was also involved “in several military construction projects,” including a military academy and the ongoing construction of the headquarters of the Namibian Ministry of Defence.

According to Vice News, up to August 2015, North Korean labourers “were undertaking construction activities at another military base in Suider Hof,” near Windhoek. The construction of the Windhoek munitions factory took place between 2002 and 2005 and involved a subsidiary of Mansudae, reports The Namibian.

The UN has stated that the “construction of any munitions factory or related military facilities” is prohibited under existing resolutions targeting North Korea. However, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the projects with North Korea began before UN sanctions were imposed.

The minister added that the North Koreans assisted with construction projects such as State House, Heroes’ Acre, the military museum and the Independence Museum.

In October 2006 the UN Security Council banned the trade in major weapons systems with North Korea, and 2009, the security council extended the ban to all arms and related material.

In 2014 the Namibian government said it would spend billions on the construction and upgrading of five new military bases over the next four years under a greatly expanded defence budget. The military infrastructure development project included the establishment of a new military academy for the Namibia Defence Force (NDF).

The Namibian Defence Force’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) document for the period 2014 to 2017 showed that billions will be spent on setting up new army bases in Keetmanshoop (N$241 million), Otjiwarongo (N$545 million), Gobabis (N$550 million) and Oluno (N$573 million).

A new air force base was to be set up in Karibib (N$348 million) while a new military academy will be built at Oshivelo (N$395 million). Further developments include the construction of a new military hospital in Windhoek (N$450 million), specific upgrades to the naval base in Walvis Bay (N$395 million) and a general rehabilitation programme which will cover an unspecified number of old army bases (N$615 million).