South African state-owned defence group Denel Dynamics has revealed that its Umkhonto surface-to-air missile (SAM) integration programme for two Meko-class A200-AN frigates is nearing completion.

The latest development marks a major milestone in the delivery of the missile by Denel to an undisclosed customer.

The missile is scheduled to undergo extensive testing in early 2017.

"After four years of manufacturing, integration and commissioning we have now reached the final stages of the programme."

Denel Dynamics CEO Tsepo Monaheng said: “After four years of manufacturing, integration and commissioning we have now reached the final stages of the programme.

“The focus now shifts to the client country where the life firings will soon take place.”

The delivery of the SAM is part of a five-year programme, named Javelin, under which Denel Dynamics will deliver the Umkhonto Infrared SAM, the on-board fire control equipment and the missile rounds for two Meko A200-AN frigates.

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ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is the primary contractor for the construction of the frigates, which began at the Kiel shipyard in August 2012.

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition is the primary contractor for the Umkhonto ammunition.

The missile round is currently being manufactured and is slated to be completed next month.

The first vessel equipped with the Umkhonto has already been delivered to the client, while the second frigate completed installation, integration and commissioning phases, as well as final sea acceptance trials.

The high-velocity and infrared homing missile has been designed to defend against simultaneous attacks from missiles and aircraft, as well as stationary surface targets.

The Umkhonto SAM is currently operational in 12 naval vessels, with eight of them deployed in the northern hemisphere, and similar systems in service with both the South African and Finnish navies.