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Development of the system began in 1993. Ground-based system tests completed in July 2005.

The tests included using Denel Skua supersonic target drones equipped with telemetry sensors. Test flights flew different trajectory profiles, including low-flying, walking and exercising collision course evasive action.[clarification needed] The first successful launch from a ship was carried out on board the South Africa Navy Valour-class frigate SAS Amatola on the 23 November 2005. The missile was launch at a Denel Skua supersonic target drone near Cape Agulhas. Test launches were repeated a week later. Instead of a warhead, missiles were equipped with telemetry data transmission units. According to the telemetry, both tests were assessed as hits.

Variants[edit]
Umkhonto-IR Block1[edit]
Designed for all-round defence against simultaneous air attacks from multiple targets, the Umkhonto-IR missile is the first vertically launched infrared-homing surface-to-air missile, also the first IR-homing missile to use lock-onafter-launch. Upon launch, the missile flies to a lock-on point, following on-board inertial navigation. The missile then activates its two-colour IR-seeker (variant of UDarter AAM's seeker) and locks on. Target updates are received via data link, enabling the missile to counter evasive manoeuvres by the target.

The Umkhonto has a set of tail-mounted, aerodynamic control fins, as well as thrust vectoring vanes in the motor nozzle (similar to Denel's A-Darter AAM), allowing for 40 g maneuvering. The system's 3-D fire-control radar enables simultaneous engagement of eight targets for the naval version. The missile uses a low-smoke propellant to avoid detection. In July 2005 it was successfully tested in various scenarios against a Denel made Skua drones. The sealed container has a cylindrical pad shape. During start-reactive gases are reflected from the bottom of the container and go straight up between the walls of the container and the body of the rocket. After starting the container used to recharge removed and replaced with a loaded container. Reloading the launcher is made either on the basis of, or in a calm sea using an auxiliary vessel. High reliability is achieved through the built-in self-test hardware that provides the minimum cost of maintenance staff. The system consists of modules starting with missiles in launch canisters, control panel, system controller (control computer and control system interface shooting), the startup sequence controllers (one for every four missiles), transmitter remote control, antenna station and the cooling system of the infrared sensor before starting.

Umkhonto-IR Block 2[edit]

This variant of the IR Umkhonto was recently developed for the Finnish Navy. It has a more advanced seeker-head algorithm for differentiating between the target and background clutter often found in and around the Baltic archipelago. Because of the improvement in the seeker head, the newer version has a more efficient flight path, allowing for an increase in range of 3 km (1.9 mi); a new maximum range of 15 km (9.3 mi). Its current flight ceiling is 10 km (6.2 mi). Denel Dynamics has stated its intention to end production of the Mk1 and continue with the Mk2 version of the missile, as a part of the missile's overall growth path.

Umkhonto-IR-Block 3[edit]
The Block 3 variant of the IR Umkhonto was test fired in October 2013. During the demonstration, three missiles successfully destroyed low-cost aerial target systems (LOCATS provided by the South African Army), two at 15 km range and one at 20 km. Its current flight ceiling is 12 kilometers. The targets were launched from the Denel Overberg Test Range and flew out to sea before turning inshore on an elliptical track. The successful groundbased firing tests proved that the range of the Umkhonto has now been extended to 20 km while the physical dimensions of the missile remain unchanged. The test was also part of the development of a mobile groundbased system for the South African Army.[3]

Denel Dynamics has stated its intention to eventually make the Block 3 version of missile as the standard SHORAD variant, as a part of the missile's overall growth path.

Umkhonto-IR-ER[edit]
Denel Dynamics is currently developing a longer range Umkhonto-IR-ER variant with a range exceeding 20 km (12 mi) with a larger motor that extends the range to over 30 km (19 mi), and also has designed a Umkhonto-CLOS (command-to-line-of-sight) version that could prove attractive in the African Region.

Umkhonto-R[edit]
Further extended range versions (Umkhonto-R) are in development. They will feature a rocket booster and Radar seekers.[4][5] The radar-guided version's range is extended to over 80 km (50 mi) and has a higher operational ceiling of over 15,000 m (49,000 ft). It is also 65 kg (143 lb) heavier and 98 cm (39 in) longer than the Umkhonto-IR variant. Denel Dynamics is currently in negotiations with the Brazilian Navy for joint development of the missile.

A Brazilian report has stated that South Africa's State-owned defence industrial group Denel is proposing that the Brazilian Navy cooperate with it in the development of the radar-guided

version of Denel Dynamics' Umkhonto naval surface-to-air missile (SAM), designated Umkhonto-R. If so, this would parallel the current cooperation between Denel Dynamics and the Brazilian Air Force in the development of the A-Darter air-to-air missile. It is known that Denel is seeking to widen its cooperation with Brazil, with Unmanned Air Vehicles likely to be the next area of partnership. The Brazilian and South African Navies will start high-level staff talks late next month (November) and it is believed that this would provide the ideal opportunity for the South African Navy to lobby the Brazilians to join the Umkhonto-R programme.
BY: KEITH CAMPBELL

The original, infrared-homing, version of the Umkhonto, designated Umkhonto-IR, is now in service with the South African and Finnish Navies and is being seriously considered by the Swedish Navy. Radar homing would give the missile greater range. While the slant (as distinct from vertical, or horizontal) range of the Umkhonto-IR is believed to be 14 km, that for the Umkhonto-R would, reportedly, be 20 km. (The Denel Dynamics public

brochure for the Umkhonto-IR states "Range: 12 000 m", and gives a ceiling of 8 000 m.)
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The South African Department of Defence is, it seems, providing funding for the Umkhonto-R project, but this is not likely to be enough to allow a purely national development of the programme within a reasonable time. (If a weapon system takes too long to develop, it becomes obsolete before it even enters service.) Hence Denel's, and South Africa's, reported desire for a partner. The engagement sequence for the UmkhontoIR is as follows: the warship detects a target on its acquisition radar and launches the missile against it; the SAM uses its on-board inertial navigation subsystem to fly itself to a "lock-on point" - the location at which its IR seeker can acquire the target and lock on to it - and then guide itself to interception. However, for the Umkhonto-R, it is reported that, after target detection and missile launch, the SAM would be steered towards the target by commands from the warship, activating its radar seeker when within range, locking on to, and then intercepting, the target.

Unlike the South African navy, the Brazilian Navy already operates radar-guided SAMs, namely the Italian Aspide, with a published range of greater than 15 km. Although the Brazilians rate this as a very good missile, they are, however, merely users of it - they have no mastery of radar-homing technology. Cooperation with South Africa in the UmkhontoR programme would provide an opportunity for the Brazilians to gain this expertise. However, there is a potential problem. The Umkhonto (both -IR and -R versions) is designed to use vertical launch systems(VLS) and not traditional trainable launchers. In a VLS each missile is accomodated in its own silo, and this arrangement has many advantages over traditonal systems, with the result that VLS is being adopted nearly universally for new-build warships. But almost all of a VLS is accomodated below deck, not above deck as with traditional launchers. This requires that the ship have significant internal volume to accomodate the VLS. And Brazil's existing frigates and corvettes do not have the necessary internal volume to host VLS, meaning they cannot carry the Umkhonto. On the other hand, the Umkhonto-R could be fitted to Brazil's bigger ships - the aircraft carrier and four or five amphibious ships - which have

plenty of internal volume available. So this is not an automatic deal-wrecker. The Brazilian Navy has its own research and development agency, the Naval Research Institute (IPqM are its initials in Portuguese). The IPqM is based in Rio de Janeiro and is subordinated to the Navy Science, Technology, and Innovation Secretariat. The Institute has successfully developed weapons and electronic systems that are now in service with the Brazilian Navy, including electronic support measures (ESM), a tactical control system for warships, a monitoring and conmtrol system for ships' engines, a chaff launching system, and sea mines. Projects it is currently working on include an electronic countermeasures (ECM) system, radar absorbing materials, ceramic armour, and an inertial navigation system. The IPqM has close ties with Brazilian industry and would presumably be the lead Brazilian institution in a joint Umkhonto-R programme.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu