South African missile for Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia’s armed forces may soon be using a South African missile after the recent signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly market the Ingwe anti-tank missile between Saudi Arabia’s ITEAC Group and South Africa’s Denel Dynamics.

The Ingwe being launched from a light utility vehicle. (Photo credit: Denel Dynamics)

The Ingwe being launched from a light utility vehicle. (Photo credit: Denel Dynamics)


The MoU was signed on 16 September during the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition held at Air Force Base Waterkloof on the outskirts of Pretoria. Dr Amin Al-Shanqiti, Board Chairman and CEO of ITEAC, says that the main objective of this MoU is the transfer of technology and know-how as ITEAC is active in the defence and security sectors but not currently involved in missile development. Should a sale come to fruition then the ITEAC Group would manufacture parts of the Ingwe (Leopard) missile in Saudi Arabia thus helping the Kingdom to meet its Vision 2030 objective of sourcing over 50% of defence acquisitions domestically.


(Photo credit: Denel Dynamics)

State-owned Denel Dynamics makes the ZT3 Ingwe multi-role, anti-tank, laser-guided missile (ATGM), with a tandem warhead that will penetrate up to 1,000mm of Rolled Homogeneous Armour (RHA) after a single layer of reactive armour. The company says the 28.5kg missile automatically determines its own position in the laser beam and manoeuvres onto the line of sight. It has crossfire capability from adjacent platforms with high-speed launch from helicopter platforms and fire-on-the-move from land platforms. The 1,750mm-long missile has short (250m) and long (5km) range capabilities. The Ingwe’s Armed, Long-range, Reconnaissance Turret, ALRRT (Alert), available in a variety of configurations (four missiles, two missiles with a 7.62mmcalibre machine gun, etc.), can be integrated onto a wide range of vehicles from Light Utility Vehicles (LUV) to heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) whilst the Ingwe Portable Launch System allows the missile to be tripod-mounted.

The South African Army has the Ingwe mounted on the Ratel and Badger Infantry Fighting Vehicles; other customers include the Algerian Air Force, Iraq’s Army Air Corps, and the Malaysian Army.


Eight Ingwe's mounted on a helicopter (Photo credit: Denel Dynamics)

Eight Ingwe’s mounted on an Mi-171Sh military transport helicopter (Photo credit: Denel Dynamics)

South Africa’s defence industry already has one major sale to Saudi Arabia under its belt: earlier this year (in April) a munition production site was built at al-Kharj with the support of Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), which is 49% owned by the Denel Group, in a US$240M contract.