Umkhonto missile ready for final testing on frigates


The delivery of Denel’s Umkhonto surface-to-air missile to an international client has reached an advanced stage, with extensive testing scheduled to take place in early 2017.

The missiles are integrated into Meko class frigates built for the client at the Kiel shipyard in Northern Germany.

Denel Dynamics supplies the surface-to-air missile – SAM – system as well as the Umkhonto ammunition for both frigates.

Tsepo Monaheng, CEO of Denel Dynamics, says the Umkhonto SAM is now operational in 12 naval vessels across the world – eight of them in the northern hemisphere. Similar systems are in service with both the South African and Finnish navies.

“It, again, demonstrates that the South African defence industry can hold its own against the best of the world and that our products and systems are highly competitive,” he says.

Denel Dynamics is one of 130 global suppliers that equip the frigates with systems ranging from engines to sensors to weapon systems. The five-year programme – named Javelin – comprises the delivery of the Umkhonto Infrared SAM, the on-board fire control equipment and the missile rounds for two Meko A200-AN frigates.

The construction of the frigates started in August 2012 and the first vessel equipped with the Umkhonto has already been delivered to the client. The primary contractors are ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for the frigates and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition for the Umkhonto ammunition.

The installation, integration and commissioning phases for the second frigate are also now completed and final sea acceptance trials took place in October 2016. The manufacturing of the missile round is currently under way and will be completed in January.

“After four years of manufacturing, integration and commissioning, we have now reached the final stages of the programme,” says Monaheng. The focus now shifts to the client country where the life firings will soon take place.