The Chief of the Pakistan Navy, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, has requested more information on the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto surface-to-air missile (SAM). He made the request while on a recent visit to Simon’s Town.
During the course of the visit, from 26 May, Zakaullah and his delegation met with Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Bubele Mhlana, for a courtesy call, and visited the vessels SAS Isandlwana and SAS Manthatisi. The delegation was also given a tour of the Institute of Maritime Technology in Simon’s Town.
The South African Navy said Zakaullar was given a presentation covering SA Navy structure and the strategic guidance given to the Fleet by Navy Headquarters, amongst others. The Pakistan delegation requested more information about the Ukhonto missile system, which is installed aboard the SA Navy’s four Valour class frigates.
The vertically launched Umkhonto is also in service with the Finnish navy aboard its Hamina fast attack craft and Hameenmaaa class minelayers. It has also been ordered by Algeria for its Meko A200 class frigates.
The missile was originally developed with a 12 km range but this was increased to 15 km and Denel has demonstrated it can reach out to 20 km, with a ceiling of 8 000 metres. Denel Dynamics is currently working on a longer range version as part of an integrated air defence system as well as a radar guided version.
Once deployed, the missile has a reaction time of 2.5 seconds and half-second intervals between missile launches. Umkhonto uses inertial navigation and mid-course guidance from the launch ship or from a land based radar and then switches to its dual-band thermal imaging seekers.
Although it is primarily an anti-missile and anti-aircraft system, its 23 kg pre-fragmented warhead makes it effective against surface targets like ships as well.
During the Pakistan Navy visit, Zakaullar asked SA Navy Chief Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane to consider the possibility of deploying vessels to Pakistan to participate in the multinational exercise AMAN-17 which will take place in February 2017. However, as this coincides with South Africa’s Armed Forces Day this may not be possible.