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Saab Global

Giraffe 1x: Monitoring the skies for new generation of aerial threats

4 min read

The nature of combat is constantly evolving in its forms and procedures. Traditional defence structures are undergoing massive reconfiguration in order to overcome various security challenges that India is facing in the contemporary times. There are around 6 lakh rogue or unregistered drones roving in and around the country. At the same time, the offensive use of drones has become a major threat due to its prevalence and easy availability. In times of asymmetric warfare, India’s strategic areas need to be strengthened with powerful surveillance and drone- detection systems.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) carry various risks that can range from violation of privacy (illegal surveillance), breaching secured air spaces (to gather intelligence) and unleashing hostile action (IED carrying drones can destroy military/civilian settlements). With faster developments in drone technology, increasing payload capability and miniaturization of various components, drones are a risk to air spaces and a massive threat to strategic establishments.

The first process in countering a possible drone attack would be through integrated monitoring. Conventional radars are not meant to detect small, slow flying objects and often have object detection and classification issues. Detection and Classification are highly crucial to separate the evil targets from other flying objects since there have been instances of swarm drones that are used to target a specific installation and cause massive casualty and destruction. Advanced radars and surveillance systems can track the movement and presence of UAVs.

Given that UAVs are easily deployed and could home in from any direction, it is essential to have mobile radar systems that can be quickly redeployed when the need arises.

Saab’s Giraffe 1X is a multi-mission radar system that provides 360-degree surveillance, freedom of maneuver and air superiority. This robust and economical ground-based surveillance system has a long-life span and can be used for both surface and air surveillance in all three services.

It is lightweight, easy to train and high configurability system with an enhanced low, slow and small (ELSS) function to detect and classify multiple short-range threats.

With 360- degree detection, the 3D radar can detect airborne and surface targets simultaneously. Its superior classification helps the forces to detect missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and even, a bird. Giraffe 1X is capable of providing surveillance and detection of rockets launched with a low trajectory due to a superior capability to sort clutter (data attributable to birds, ground heat, vehicle etc).

The Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) radar assists ground-based commanders in drone detection and air surveillance, Counter Artillery, Rocket and Mortar (C-RAM) sensing as well as provide engagement quality target data within a single solution.

Giraffe 1X provides a swift understanding of the air situation while enabling a new immediate and effective response to changing threats, new tactics and shifting operational conditions. The Giraffe 1X with ELSS (enhanced low, slow and small) can swiftly detect and track small/mini-UAVs and even distinguish them from birds with a false alarm rate reduced to an absolute minimum.

With a total system weight of 150 kgs, Giraffe 1X is lightweight with very low power consumption that enables it to be easily integrated into any type of mobile platform or fixed structure. This is especially useful in inhospitable terrains where the Indian forces have to deploy weapons swiftly without leaving any footprint.

Giraffe 1X is currently one of the few radar systems available in the market place today capable of providing C-RAM and air surveillance concurrently without any performance degradation. The Giraffe 1X system is capable of landing a fixed wing aircraft while conducting full C-RAM surveillance.

The Indian defence establishment has long enumerated requirements for Low Level Transportable Radars for protection of defence bases and creation of total surveillance systems. Low Level Radar systems are the need of the hour for countries around the world and, for India, Giraffe 1X is an ideal system which has been tested in India and whose performance has been exemplary in all kinds of weather conditions.