Romania has contracted Rheinmetall to upgrade its Oerlikon GDF 103 air defence artillery systems. Valued at EUR328 million, the contract encompasses the delivery of four complete systems – two within the next two years, two within three years – as well as training, spare parts and other services.
“This substantial first-time order from the Romanian government widens our footprint in Central Europe,” said Chairman of Rheinmetall’s Executive Board, Armin Papperger. “It also underscores Rheinmetall’s role as a leading supplier of ground-based air defence systems [and] will bolster the defensive capabilities of the EU and NATO on Europe’s eastern flank”.
Each of the systems ordered consists of an Oerlikon Skymaster TLCN fire control system; an X-Band Tactical Acquisition Radar 3D (X-TAR3D); six 35mm GDF009 TREO Oerlikon twin guns, including autoloader; and two heavy-duty special trucks for transporting the fire control system and the tracking radar.
An upgraded Oerlikon anti-aircraft artillery system, the Rheinmetall Skynex air defence solution is a modular, flexible ground-based air defence system for the protection of stationary objects and installations at close and short ranges. Capable of simultaneously engaging up to four targets at very short range, including ground targets, cannon-based air defence solutions from the Skynex product family lend themselves especially well to close-range operations where guided missiles are ineffective – including counter-UAS applications. The effectors used here are Oerlikon rapid-fire automatic cannon featuring a rate of fire of 1,100 rounds per minute and a maximum effective range of up to 4,000 metres.
Recent successes of the aging 35mm Gepard antiaircraft tank in Ukraine underscore the efficiency of cannon-based air defence in countering aerial threats – especially cruise missiles and drones – and the continuing importance of short-range air defence in modern warfare. Compared to the Gepard, Skynex constitutes a generational leap in terms of sensor technology, the networked deployment of multiple tactical units and inclusion in higher-echelon C2 systems. Its combat effectiveness further benefits from the use of Rheinmetall’s programmable time-delayed 35mm Ahead ammunition, assuring maximum effectiveness against small, fast-moving targets.
For more information: www.rheinmetall.com
(Image: the Skynex upgrade places an emphasis on tactical mobility and agility. Credit: Rheinmetall)