SUNGUR: A Real 4th Generation MANPADS!

Date: Issue 101 - November 2020

Turkey's first Mobile Low-Altitude Short-Range Air Defense System SUNGUR, which was indigenously developed and tested by Roketsan under the contract signed on September 10, 2013, is also a true 4th generation Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS). The system was planned to be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces in September 2020 according to the project schedule (not announced any delivery as of 30th September)

When we look at the footage of testing fire recently shared by Roketsan, we can see that the 'fire and forget' type SUNGUR missile, with an Imaging Infrared (IIR) Seeker and a maximum range of 8km, does not employ a rolling airframe to provide in-flight stability, unlike the Stinger missile. I believe that the SUNGUR missile, which has a longer and wider body than the Stinger missile with a diameter of 2.75 inches/70mm and a length of 147cm, does not require a rolling airframe thanks to the IIR Seeker. The FIM-92 Stinger missile incorporates a rolling airframe canard concept to provide static control and stabilization so the IR seeker could be simplified. However, SUNGUR uses folding tail fins (they open as soon as the missile leaves the launcher) and presumably movable nose strakes. The SUNGUR missile, which I believe is powered by a dual-thrust solid-propellant rocket motor (booster + sustainer) like the Stinger missile, leaves the launcher more dynamically than the Stinger, and the booster separates as soon as it leaves the launcher. I believe that the SUNGUR missile, with a relatively long-range of 8km (previously announced as 6km+ range), uses a powerful cooling system to maintain the long-range performance of its multi-band IIR Seeker. The Stinger missile uses Argon gas in its Battery Coolant Unit (BCU, also called thermal battery) to supercool its IR Seeker. In the Mobile Low-Altitude Short-Range Air Defense configuration of SUNGUR, the BCU is located inside the launcher instead of the missile, while in the MANPADS configuration, the BCU is attached to a separable gripstock assembly like the Stinger.

I think that the SUNGUR Missile, which I believe has a Mach 2.2+ speed, uses an "annular blast fragmentation" type warhead of at least 3kg like the Stinger. According to the information shared by the President of Defense Industries İsmail DEMİR on his official social media account on July 1, 2020, SUNGUR uses a 'titanium warhead,' which likely refers to a continuous-rod warhead. In this type of warhead, an even number of individual titanium rods are arranged in parallel to form a hollow cylindrical pipe, and the ends of the rods are welded together in alternating order all the way around. When detonated, the high explosive imparts momentum to the rods, thrusting them outward in an expanding circle so that when it explodes, it spreads into a large circle that shreds the target.