Al Tariq guided bombs in service and combat-proven
Denel Dynamics' annual report has revealed that 600 Al Tariq guided weapons have now been delivered to the United Arab Emirates, under a programme that was earlier delayed by technical challenges.
The Al Tariq precision-guided munition is a modular IN/GPS-guided glide bomb kit, a derivative of Denel’s Umbani precision-guided bomb kit. Abu Dhabi-based Tawazun Holdings and South Africa’s Denel Dynamics jointly produce the weapon.
The Al Tariq bomb kit is designed to fit the Mk 80 family of 500lb to 2,000lb bomb bodies, with pop-out wings and moving control surfaces and using GPS/INS guidance, or semi-active laser or imaging infrared seekers.
The standard Al Tariq has a range of up to 40km (depending on release height), but the company offers bolt-on propulsion options that can boost its range to 200km. This makes the weapon a direct competitor to Sagem’s AASM and Boeing’s JDAM-ER.
The weapon can use a normal dumb bomb pylon and does not require MIL STD 1553B or 1760 databus connections, as it can be wirelessly programmed from the cockpit.
The Denel annual report, published in October, revealed that 250 full weapons kits and 350 full weapons kits had been delivered respectively under the Mbarc I and Mbarc II programmes. However, confusingly, the report also said that a total of 350 full weapons kits plus 320 sub-kits had been delivered to date.
The Denel report also confirmed that successful integration of the weapon on to the customer’s platforms had been completed, and that it had been successfully assembled and tested in the United Arab Emirates and deployed in operational conditions with, what Denel called, “very positive feedback from the users”.
In November 2013, Tawazun Dynamics announced that the Al Tariq had been successfully integrated on to the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAE AF&AD) Mirage 2000-9 aircraft in association with Dassault, manufacturer and supplier of the Mirage 2000 fighters.
During 2015, Denel revealed that the weapon had also been integrated and was, by then, operational on the UAE’s Hawk 102 trainers.
In October 2015, news reports showed the wreckage of what was purported to be a UAV that had been ‘shot down’ in Taiz, Yemen. The accompanying photos clearly showed an Al-Tariq wing kit, demonstrating that the weapon had made its combat debut!