AS-30 Air-to-Surface Missile

As part of the initial contract, when the Mirage III aircraft arrived in South Africa in 1963, two air-to-air missile types were supplied for the intercept role and one air-to-surface missile type was supplied for the ground attack role.  The forerunner of the AS-30 was the smaller AS-20, and a number of these were supplied with inert warheads to be used as training missiles.  At that stage a single AS-30 missile cost R37 000-00 each and each pilot was only allowed to fire (and guide) one AS-20 per year and one AS-30 every two years.


Development of the Matra R.530 radar-guided all-weather air-to-air missile commenced in France during 1957.  The semi-active radar homing missile was planned to be the sole air-to-air armament for the Mirage but the need for cannons was also identified.  The Matra R.530 missile entered French service in 1962.  The missile had a cruciform structure with fixed wings and moving tail controls and was powered by a two-stage solid-propellant motor.


The SA-8 GECKO is a single-stage, solid-fuel, short-range, low-altitude, all-weather Surface-to-Air Missile System.  The TELAR (transporter erector launcher and radar) vehicle is a six-wheeled design and designated BAZ-5937.  The driver's compartment in front accommodates the driver and commander, with access to it via a hatch in the roof.  The engine is at the very rear.  Four command-guided missiles are carried ready to launch, two on either side.  The main fire control radar is at the rear of a one-man gunner-radar operator position and folds back 90º to reduce the overall height of the vehicle for air transport and during high speed road travel.


The SA-9 Gaskin (Russian name 9K31 Strela-1) is a highly mobile, short-range, low altitude infra-red guided surface-to-air missile system mounted on the wheeled armoured vehicle BRDM-2. The first Strela-1 (SA-9/`Gaskin') launchers were produced in 1966 with the system attaining operational status in 1968.