The Swedish Challenge
The Swedish company Saab had various systems on display at DefExpo 2018 and Vayu's Sayan Majumdar spent much time imbibing information on the RBS 70NG, which is designed to meet the VSHORAD challenge. His report:
The Saab RBS 70NG VSHORAD (Very Short Range Air Defence) System, comprising surveillance radar and firing units, is on offer to the Indian Army to fill a crucial gap in their Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD). “The RBS 70NG system’s automatic tracking capabilities and ability to detect multiple targets, both day and night, meets and exceeds the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces for a VSHORAD system.” The RBS 70 in its various evolving versions is operational with the Swedish armed forces and has also been exported to 18 countries worldwide.
The RBS 70 missile can be operated independently in stand- alone mode or can be configured with several firing units ( up to nine) linked with truckmounted Saab Microwave Systems Giraffe surveillance radar to form an anti-aircraft battery protecting an area of 175 square kilometres. The target data, including range, bearing and velocity is transmitted to each designated missile firing post. The RBS 70 system entered service in 1978 with the 2 km-ranged Mk.1 missile providing altitude coverage of more than 5 km. Current production model is the fourth-generation all-target BOLIDE (in RBS 70NG) missile (a further development of the Mk 2) with increased speed with manoeuvrability ensured by the new sustainer rocket motor. The system, entering the digital era, also included non-cooled laser diodes (No Freon), BORC Thermal Imager, Digital Identification Friend & Foe (IFF) Interrogator, Target Data Receiver, PC-based Weapon Simulator and external power supply.
The RBS 70NG comprises the ‘beam rider’ BOLIDE missile in the launch container, a tripod firing stand and an optical sight, operable by one, and portable by three soldiers. The system can be vehicle-mounted by rapid moving units and remotely controlled. The missile is equipped with a solid propellant booster motor developed by Bofors and a solid propellant sustainer motor by BAE Systems Land Systems ( Royal Ordnance) and Imperial Metal Industries. When the operator fires the missile, the booster motor is ignited inside the launch tube and the missile is accelerated out of the tube. The control surfaces and the four fins open into position as the missile leaves the tube. The sustainer motor ignites after the missile has travelled a safe distance from the launch position, subsequently jettisoning the booster.
Presently, FLIR Systems close loop cooled Clip-On Night Device (COND) operating in the 8-micron to 12-micron infrared band (with a 12x 8-degrees field of view) ensures day and night capability to be replaced by BORC, based on Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) thermal imaging technology. A hostile target can be located visually by the missile operator or detected by the Giraffe surveillance radar. When the target is acquired, the operator tracks the target in tandem Raytheon Cossor IFF880 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system. If a friendly target is detected, a warning light in the sight is illuminated halting the firing sequence. However, in case of a hostile intrusion, the operator (this Vayu observer was fortunate to operate in simulation multiple times) aims the missile towards the target, fires and tracks the target, aiming a laser guidance beam continuously at the target until the moment of impact. The RBS 70NG sight enhances the capability of the BOLIDE missile by reducing the tracking noise through the implementation of an auto-tracker function. Lowered noise will result in even higher maneuverability and higher kill- probability than in the present RBS 70 system against small targets at maximum range.
Saab's RBS 70NG on launch