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15 Sep 16. Denel developing Cheetah C-RAM missile. South Africa’s Denel has teamed up with Rheinmetall to develop a missile that will be integrated with the Skyshield system to give it a counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) capability, it was announced during the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) show held in South Africa 14-18 September.
“The concept was born out of two factors: one it is a business opportunity that we have identified and secondly to counter a threat that has emerged in the [African] continent. The South African defence force has been deployed on peacekeeping missions and we realised that they are under threat from mortars and artillery at relatively close range, so we needed a quick way of protecting our soldiers,” Tsepo Monaheng, the chief executive officer of Denel Dynamics toldIHS Jane’s.
“The Rheinmetall system is already in the inventory of our defence forces, so we will build a missile with Rheinmetall Defence Munition (RDM) to complement the existing system,” he added.
The Skyshield has already been deployed to Afghanistan by the Germany military to provide C-RAM protection, but the Bundeswehr is using Rheinmetall’s new Revolver cannon in this role, which is effective against mortars and 107 mm artillery rockets. In contrast, the South African Skyshield systems use the older twin 35 mm GDF guns that are less accurate and so are not practical C-RAM weapons.
The Cheetah will be an entirely new, highly agile missile with its own radar seeker that will have a proximity warhead, and use technologies that have been developed for other Denel Dynamics missiles. The Cheetah will be launched from a transportable vertical launch system with up to 60 canisters.
While the Cheetah might invite comparisons to the Tamir interceptor used by the Israeli Iron Dome system, Fabian Ochsner, the vice-president for marketing and portfolio management at Rheinmetall Air Defence and Radar Systems, stated that, “we are not copying anyone, this is a unique system”.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Sep 16. AAD 2016: Zambian L-15s make first public appearance. The delivery of the first of Zambia’s new HAIC L-15 multirole jet fighters was confirmed during the Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) exhibition held in South Africa from 14-18 September, when two were displayed at the show.
An official from the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), which promoted the aircraft at the show, was reluctant to discuss the numbers involved, but told IHS Jane’s that the first batch of “more than two” L-15s arrived in Zambia in July and the rest are expected to be delivered by early 2017. A CATIC official told IHS Jane’s in 2014 that Zambia had ordered six L-15s.
It was confirmed during the event that Zambia is receiving the L-15AFT attack/fighter/trainer version as opposed to the L-15AJT advanced jet trainer that recently entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as the JL-10.
Major Paul Besa, one of the first Zambian L-15 pilots, told IHS Jane’s that the delivery of the L-15s marked a milestone for the ZAF as it now has a third-generation multirole fighter with fly-by-wire avionics. He said the aircraft are being flown by the Air Defence Command’s Lusaka-based Squadron 15.
Despite the name of the command, he stressed that the ZAF’s L-15AFTs would be used in both the air defence and attack roles, saying that Zambia has ordered the full-range of weapons.
In the air-to-air role these include PL-5E short-range air-to-air missiles on the two outermost hardpoints. The air-to-ground weapons include a 23 mm PC-2AI gun pod on the centreline hardpoint and a combination of HF-18D pods for 57 mm rockets, 250 kg or 500 kg bombs, and air-to-surface missiles on the remaining four hardpoints.
Maj Besa said that the ZAF had ordered both LS-6 GP