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Saab Global

Australian Army takes Giraffe radar delivery

3 min read



The Australian Department of Defence’s Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG) collected Australia’s third and final IFF modified Giraffe AMB (agile multi beam) radar from Saab Australia headquarters whilst signing a support contract worth AUD $28 million.

Over the past three years Saab integrated Mode 5 Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) protocol and ADS (B) into the Australian Army’s Giraffe radars; as well as their ground based air defence (GBAD) systems; and counter-rocket mortar (C-RAM) systems.

IFF is a crucial security protocol which reduces the risk of fratricide. ADS (B) is surveillance technology aircraft use to determine their position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcast it to be tracked.

Through this work, Saab delivered the world’s first short range air defence IFF interrogator to meet US certification interoperability standards. With these modifications, Australian Army air defence crews can now support coalition force missions; as the risk of misidentifying aircraft has significantly reduced.

As the Giraffes are manufactured in Gothenberg by Saab Surveillance, the Swedish engineers transferred the radar’s intellectual property to Saab Australia engineers so they can maintain the equipment in-country for Army.

The support contract covers the Australian Army’s three Giraffes, its GBAD systems, C-RAM systems and extended capabilities (eg. IFF) until 2022.

“Long-term, top-class support is key to our offer and we look forward to maintaining the strength of the Australian Army’s capability with our expertise in complex integrated systems”, says Anders Carp, head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.

Saab Australia will support the GBAD and C-RAM capability from Adelaide and Melbourne with some heavy grade support for sensor and missile systems provided by equipment suppliers in Sweden and the USA.

“Our operations in Australia are going from strength to strength. We’re committed to our relationship with the Australian Army and to contributing to keeping people and assets safe by supporting our nations’ ground based air defence capability”, said Andy Keough, managing director of Saab Australia.

The Australian Army first purchased and deployed their Giraffes to Afghanistan in 2010 to detect hostile munitions targeting allied bases. They saved numerous lives by warning troops in time to take cover. 

The Giraffe radar is an extremely capable multi mission system, which provides a 360 degree local air picture out to a range of 120 km. It can operate in a range of complex and challenging environments—from cities and coastal regions to rural or bushland areas in addition to being able to operate under desert to artic temperatures. They can detect a wide range of objects from large commercial aircraft and fast moving and agile military aircraft to smaller unmanned aerial systems. Of course their primary role is to detect rockets, artillery and mortar munitions.

The Giraffe has also been used, by other nations, to protect civilians at large public events like the London Olympic Games where a detailed analysis of movement within the surrounding airspace is paramount.

The Army’s GBAD system comprises Saab Dynamics’ RBS70 missile system and a tactical command and control system developed by Saab Australia that provides the weapon operators an accurate air picture.