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:

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia -

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

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