The Saudi Armed Forces will reportedly receive new mobile Thunder-2 short-range ballistic missile system in 2022.
The kingdom already received the first batch of components of the new missile as part of the first phase of the test program, Defense Blog reported citing a Saudi military source. Saudi Arabia plans to conduct the first firing test in September or October 2019, according to the source.
“The first batch of engines, spare parts, and different conventional warheads were delivered to Saudi Arabia for the first phase of the test program,” said the source, adding that the missile system will become operational by 2022.
The new missile has a range of 50 to 280 km and can carry a variety of warheads to target enemy facilities, assembly areas, artillery, and other targets behind the front lines. 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. The warheads will have semi-active and active target seeker systems that combine electro-optical guidance system and radar tracker.
The Thunder-2 missile has been jointly developed by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Ukrainian Yuzhnoye Design Office. Saudi Arabia has reportedly allocated some $68 million to finance R&D work on the new missile system.