By Paolo Valpolini
They are named Shalfa, lance in Arabic, and it will take a couple of years to reach full development, therefore we will see the frozen configuration in the next edition of the World Defense Show. We are talking about the new air-launched ordnance which development is underway at the Intra R&D department, the company declaring the systems are in the preliminary design phase. The development is carried out in an iterative manner, regular meetings with potential customers being held.
The Shalfa I is a powered guided bomb, something we might well define as a missile. With a weight at launch of less than 14 kg it remains among those weapons that can easily be used by UAS with a payload of around 50 kg. The Intra system is 1.2 meters long and has a 70 mm diameter. The actuators, which also act as stabilisers, are ahead of the 600 mm wingspan wings, this being the best solution for a powered ordnance according to Intra engineers, while fixed cruciform fins are located at the rear extremity of the weapon. The centre of gravity changes during flight due to the combustion of the rocket motor, but the variation is relatively lo according to EDR On-Line sources, in the 5-10% range, which allows maintaining it ahead of the centre of pressure not affecting stability, the latter remaining stable along the flight. According to information obtained at the World Defense Show the Shalfa I effective range is between 2 and 12 km, the missile being fitted with an antitank warhead capable to defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA). A tandem shaped charge warhead is the probable solution adopted, the design having carefully avoided to put any major item in front of it with the exception of the semi-active laser seeker that ensures pinpoint accuracy in the last phase of the attack, the approach being carried out under the control of an INS/GPS platform.
The Shalfa II is a gliding bomb, hence it has no motor, fitted with a guidance system similar to that of the previously described weapon. It carries a 100 mm diameter warhead its guidance system being based on an INS/GPS platform complemented by a semi-active laser seeker to ensure pinpoint accuracy in the last phase of the attack. On top of the body we find the sponson that hosts the two wings when these are folded, the wingspan being 600 mm, while the actuators ensuring the weapon steering are located at the back. According to company sources the tandem shaped charge antitank warhead ensures a 70 mm penetration against rolled homogeneous armour after having defeated ERA, the Shalfa II having a top attack profile hence it should hit the least protected areas of the targeted armoured vehicle or MBT. Being a gliding weapon, range depends from the height at which the Shalfa II is released. For its new weapon Intra targets a weight of 9.5 kg, which would allow employing it even on tactical UAS, such as those currently under development by Intra.
Photos by P. Valpolini