South Sudan has acquired surface-to-air missiles


South Sudan has deployed S-125 (SA-3) surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), which it appears to have acquired from its neighbour Uganda, and QW-2 Vanguard SAMs from China.

This is according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, which analysed satellite data to reveal that South Sudan has had the S-125 missiles since at least 2013.

Digital Globe satellite imagery shows 16 5P71 two-rail missile launchers for the S-125 system and support vehicles parked at a military camp 20 km southwest of the capital Juba on 9 June 2015, IHS Jane’s said, adding that this suggests South Sudan has four S-125 batteries each with four launchers, supported by an unidentified surveillance radar. The camp was built between March and November 2013.

There is no record of South Sudan receiving SAMs, but the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) notes that Uganda acquired four S-125s along with 300 V-600 missiles from Ukraine between 2010 and 2012. IHS notes that no SA-3s have been seen in Uganda, indicating they were transferred to South Sudan.

South Sudanese troops last year paraded a new SAM launcher that appears to be a QW-2, according to Armament Research Services. The shoulder-fired weapon is an all-aspect man-portable guided missile. Range is estimated at 5 to 6 kilometres.

Earlier this month the Sudan Tribune reported that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) had admitted to having recently acquired surface-to-air missiles through Kenya and Uganda.

A high ranking military officer told the publication that, “Our military defence system will never remain the same. There is a great improvements in terms of weapons and training and we hope that the year 2016 will be a year in which the general command and the government will pay a significant attention to our strategic and master plan to modernize and professionalize the army in order to be a conventional army capable of defending the country, lives of our people and their resources.”

Apparently South Sudan paid China for the weapons with crude oil.

According to SIPRI, South Sudan has since independence received 25 Typhoon armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from Canada in 2012/13, 20 Cougar APCs in 2014, 1 200 Red Arrow-73 anti-tank missiles and launchers from China in 2014, nine Mi-8MT/Mi-17 helicopters from Russia in 2011 and 10 Reva-3 APCs from South Africa in 2012.