The Saudi Arabia’s military is expected to receive new mobile Thunder-2 short-range ballistic missile system in 2022.
Saudi Arabia is in the middle of receiving first components of the Thunder-2 ballistic missile, which has been jointly developed by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Ukrainian Yuzhnoye Design Office, to conducts first firing test in September or October 2019, a Saudi military source told Defence Blog on 3 January.
“The first batch of engines, spare parts and different conventional warheads were delivered to Saudi Arabia for the first phase of the test programme,” said the source, adding that the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces is expected to have the first Thunder-2 ballistic missile system ready for use by 2022.
The new Thunder-2 ballistic missile, also named Grom-2, has a range from 50 to 280 km and is designed to ensure survivability and quick deployment, as well as carrying a variety of warheads to target enemy facilities, assembly areas, artillery, and other targets behind the front lines.
It is based on the Ukrainian ‘Sapsan’ mobile short-range ballistic missile system. The Thunder-2 system is equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage guided missiles with several different conventional warheads, including a cluster munitions warhead and a high explosive-fragmentation warhead. Each one is controlled throughout the entire flight path.
The warheads will have semi-active and active target seeker systems. The system combines an electro-optical guidance system and radar tracker.
Saudi Arabia has been reported to have covertly financed Resaerch & Development work on new missile system, to the tune of about $68 million dollars.