Rheinmetall Defence unveils upgraded mobile counter unmanned ground-based air defence system

Rheinmetall Defence has upgraded its mobile ground-based air defence system, the Skyranger 30, according to European Defence Review. The company introduced a concept demonstrator which follows the path of the Skyranger 35 and is built around the company’s 35 mm Oerlikon Revolver Gun.

The new unit is a lighter solution, 2-2.5 tonnes versus 4-4.5 tonnes, with a new remotely controlled turret that can be fitted onto bigger armoured vehicles as well as on tracked vehicles considerably extending the number of potential platforms. The idea is to provide army units with a mobile system capable to engage fixed wing, rotary wing, Group I and II unmanned air systems, and cruise missiles, exploiting the combination of a medium calibre gun system using airburst munitions and SHORAD missiles, the limited weight of the cradle, 250 kg, of the gun, and of the overall turret allowing the integration of such missiles within the desired weight limit, says the report.

European Defence Review said Dr Moritz Vischer, Product Manager for Effectors at RAD, went through the system peculiarities, highlighting that the company did its best to generate a well-balanced system in terms of sensors and effectors, leveraging the R&D work and the deep knowledge that it has in both those fields, giving birth to an “agile, aware and effective system”. He started from the first link of the air defence chain, that is sensors allowing target detection; “The first issue is to see the target, which is not easy task when dealing with small items such as Class I UAVs. The detection sensor adopted on the Skyranger 30 is an S-band AESA multi-mission radar, five flat antennas being integrated around the turret to provide full 360° coverage,” he explained, adding that the new radar was tested in Switzerland one day prior the presentation, starting its qualification process.

The S-band provides a detection range of around 20 km, the system being optimised for small targets in order to cope with most recent threats. An active system is always a target for RF-seeking weapons, hence RAD installed on its Skyranger 30 a passive detection system, in the form of Rheinmetall’s FIRST (Fast InfraRed Search and Track) that allows surveillance without giving out the presence of the Skyranger. “This sensor is also optimised to detect pop-up targets, as the typical helicopter threat has not gone away,” Dr. Vischer points out.

The Skyranger 30 also features identification and tracking sensors including a sensor head that includes one thermal imager, one TV channel and two laser rangefinders.

(Image: Skyranger 30, Rheinmetall Defence, European Defence Review)

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