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Dubai Airshow 2021: UAE orders Thunder and Desert Sting

18th November 2021 - 11:45 GMT | by Leonid Nersisyan in Dubai


Halcon displayed Thunder munitions guidance upgrade kits at the Dubai Airshow 2021. (Photo: Leonid Nersisyan)

Munition guidance kits for the UAE Armed Forces combine inertial measurement, satellite guidance and an optional semi-active laser seeker.

EDGE company Halcon sealed a major munitions guidance kit deal with the UAE Armed Forces during the Dubai Airshow-2021.

Halcon, for example, received an AED3.2 billion ($880 million) contract to produce its Thunder and Desert Sting series of precision-guided munitions.

The Thunder family comprises upgrade kit technology for air-launched munitions of different weights and warhead sizes. A company representative explained to Shephard that the kits, which include gliding and guidance equipment, are almost identical for Mk81, Mk82 and Mk83 bombs.

These kits combine an inertial measurement unit and satellite (GNSS) measurements to engage pre-programmed target coordinates. A semi-active laser seeker can be fitted to enhance precision.

Desert Sting is also a guided kit system in 100mm-, 129mm- and 176mm-calibre options. It uses aerodynamic tail control to reach the target. Bombs with Desert Sting can be deployed in twos or fours on aircraft weapon racks or aboard UAVs.

As with Thunder, GPS and inertial guidance are used with a semi-active laser seeker as an optional extra.

Desert Sting offers flexible configurations with multiple fuze options such as impact, height-of-burst and proximity. The warheads are made by fellow EDGE company Lahab.

In another major deal for an EDGE subsidiary, MRO specialist GAL signed a performance-based logistics (PBL) contract with the UAE Air Force worth AED11 billion over three years.

The PBL deal ‘allows military customers to seek aviation MRO services organised under a cost per flight hour model, and also facilitates ongoing improvements’, GAL announced.

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