Peru’s Next-Generation Air Defenses
In March 2012, Peru announced the winner of its competition to upgrade its air defenses. The country’s air defense needs are most sharply focused on the relatively narrow border with Chile, but the country does have borders with Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil, and has facilities it may wish to protect. Mobile and portable systems have been a priority for Peru, and their current architecture relies on a combination of upgraded SA-3/S-125 medium range missiles, Russian/Chinese derivatives of the very short range SA-16/18 man-portable missile, and guns.
Russian and Chinese firms competed for the deal, but the winner of its $140 million competition was the TRIAD consortium of Poland’s Bumar, Israel’s RAFAEL, and Northrop Grumman from the USA.
Peru’s Choices: GROM, SPYDER, etc.
For short-range defense, Bumar will supply 150 full sets of its man-portable GROM missiles and firing systems, plus another 96 missiles in launch containers. GROM is a Polish design born of necessity, after the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact left the country without a hoped-for license to build SA-18s as replacements for its license-built SA-7s. Rumor has it that technical plans for the SA-18 played a role in GROM’s design, though Bumar would surely deny them. GROM has the distinction of being combat-proven, thanks to its use by Georgian forces in the 2008 war with Russia. The Russians lost several aircraft to the Polish missiles.
Another 6 POPRAD sets for Peru will mount 4 GROM missiles each on vehicles, with 4 missiles stored, plus electro-optic cueing and an IFF interrogator to avoid “friendly fire”. Maximum POPRAD engagement range is still just 5.5 km/ 3.4 miles, at up to 3,500m/ 11,500 feet altitude.
For short to medium-range mobile air defense, RAFAEL will supply 6 “systems” of its truck-mounted SPYDER SR, which combines short-range Python 5 infrared-guided missiles and longer-range Derby active radar homing missiles, backed by electro-optic cueing and IFF. A full SPYDER squadron involves up to 6 launcher trucks, datalinked to deploy within 10 km of a central radar and command vehicle mounting IAI ELta’s EL/M-2106 ATAR 3D radar. Its intercept envelope extends out to 15 km/ 9.3 miles from the launcher, against targets flying at up to 9,000m/ 29,500 feet altitude.
It’s an interesting choice for Peru. Many Latin American air forces already use Python and/or Derby missiles, but SPYDER offers no current missile commonality with Peru’s Russian MiG-29 and French Mirage 2000 fighters.
Long-range surveillance will be handled by 3 Northrop Grumman’s AN/TPS-78 stacked beam S-band radars, each of which has an unobstructed range of 450 km. The TPS-78 is designed to be easy to transport, and can be used for air traffic control as well as air defense.
Delivery of these systems is expected by March 2014.
For a look at Peru’s main Latin American rival, “Chile Buying American for Air Defense” details Chile’s current initiative to upgrade its own air defenses, using Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger and ground-launched AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, backed by medium range Improved Sentinel radars and new command-and-control systems.
- Bumar s.o.o. (March 14/12) – Bumar Conquers More Foreign Markets
- Bumar – Air defense systems
- Bumar Amunicja – Anti-Aircraft Missile Set GROM
- RAFAEL – SPYDER ADS-SR
- IAI Elta – ELM-2106 ATAR Medium Range Tactical Air Defense Radar
- Northrop Grumman – TPS-78 and TPS-703 Solid-State Tactical Mobile Radar System