The South African Army has awarded Denel a R3.3 milion contract to maintain and repair the Ratel ZT3-A2 missile system. The work was awarded Thursday. It takes maintenance and repair work on the Ingwe system since January 2009 to R5 054 384.
The ZT3-A2 was introduced after 2008 as part of Project Adrift. In October last year the Army placed a further, small, order, worth R26.3 million, for a number of the precision guided missiles.
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 Department of Defence (DoD) in 2002 said it 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 from 2005 as part of Project Adrift. This programme sought to upgrade the ZT3 anti-armour missile to ZT3A2 Ingwe baseline standard for the SA Armoured Corps. Four systems were successfully tested during exercises at De Brug in October-November 2005.
It is not immediately clear if the SA Army has acquired more Ingwe missiles since 2005.
Denel Dynamics in May this year said it and its subcontractor, Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, are 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.
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.
Maintenance and repair of Ratel ZT3-A2 missile system
ETMG/2010/295 17 Mar 2011 R3 300 000,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aerospace
Procurement of 127 mm high energy anti-tank tandem Ingwe 1 missiles in containers – Extension of ETMG/2010/193
TMG/S2010/1212 22 Dec 2010 R34 891 470,12 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Dynamics
Procurement of guided missiles 127 mm high energy anti tank ingwe 1 missiles in containers
ETMG/2010/193 14 Oct 2010 R26 322 935,96 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Dynamics
Scaled down maintenance and repair for the Ratel ZT3-A2 missile product system
ETMG/2008/219 29 Jan 2009 R1 754 384,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aerospace