South Africa has applied to the United Nations Security Council to sell missiles worth R1.5 billion to Iran.
The Rapport newspaper reported that this will be the biggest deal yet for Denel’s Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system.
The Umkhonto vertical launch surface-to-air missile was developed for the SA Navy’s Meko A200 class frigates, and has been in service since 2001.
The missile is high-velocity and infrared homing, providing defence against attacks from missiles and aircraft.
Although it is a surface-to-air missile, it is also capable of taking out stationary surface targets.
The Umkhonto was designed with a 23kg warhead for high-kill probability, unlike other missile systems in its class.
This news follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in December 2016 between Iran and South Africa to boost defence and military cooperation.
According to the agreement, the countries will bolster cooperation in the fields of marine security and fighting organised crime.
Although Iran was removed from the United Nations’ list of countries to which no weapons can be provided, approval from the UN’s sanction committee is still needed for missile technology.
According to the Rapport, there is discomfort in political circles about South Africa’s plan to provide weapons to Iran.