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Saab Global

On target with RBS 70 NG

Air-based threats are changing and with them the requirements for ground-based air defence (GBAD) systems. Experts are observing a change in the military strategic situation and thus a renewed high interest of armed forces in equipping themselves with mobile GBAD systems. With the trend of UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) or the increasing use of loitering and guided munitions GBAD systems need to be updated.


The importance of mobile deployment of GBAD systems will increase rapidly, says Per Järbur, Director Business Development and Strategy at Saab’s business area Dynamics. The Swede analyses all developments in GBAD and mobile air defence for Saab. Today, maneuverable forces and key assets are vulnerable to hostile aerial reconnaissance, target acquisition and attacks from a wide range of air platforms. In addition, enemy indirect fire, enhanced by the use of UAS and the use of UAS as loitering munitions, threatens the ability to protect the troops. This can lead to causalities, limitation or even loss of operational freedom. Consequently, mobile GBAD forces need to support "close fight" on the current and future battlefield.

RBS 70 in the Irish Armed Forces

Short range air defence systems, integrated on maneuverable platforms such as vehicles, fill the gaps of any air defence and offer complete coverage. Possible examples: Operations against drones, cruise missiles or armored helicopters and operations in built-up urban, but also hilly and mountainous areas. For instance, the Irish Armed Forces have been using the RBS 70 system for many years in a wide variety of environments to protect national events and state visits.

A total of 19 countries, including several NATO countries, have procured more than 1600 units of the RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG to date, in addition to more than 18,000 missiles. The BOLIDE missile is the latest iteration of RBS 70 missile with an altitude coverage of up to 5 kilometers and an effective intercept range of more than 9 kilometers, the missile hits its target at a speed of Mach 2. The shaped charge of the guided missile is used to successfully engage armored targets such as UAV, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft. The flexibility of the RBS 70 NG design creates a wide range of uses within the same mission. The system can be deployed rapidly and operated in a timely manner from any location. Long-term static defence of strategic assets can also be achieved through a stand-alone, remotely controlled configuration.  

Unaffected by countermeasures

The use of the RBS 70 NG system requires only two personnel and creates maximum flexibility and operational freedom for armed forces. The system is designed to be used in any climate. The RBS 70 NG remains on target unaffected by any countermeasures, heat sources and other interfering influences. The main reason for this is that, during optical tracking, the operator on the ground can use manual control at any time after launch and thus change the target point, supported by improved aiming aids and auto-trackers. By utilizing an integrated thermal imaging device, RBS 70 NG system operates both day and night. The sight can also be used as a sensor to detect possible threats. Another advantage is the unjammable laser guidance system, which increases hit probability against any target. And last but not least the cost per shot are relatively inexpensive because the smart parts are on the ground and will not be destroyed with each firing.

The GBAD expert Per Järbur summarizes that state-of-the-art systems meet military needs, taking into account the latest technologies, political requirements and the available budget. The main focus in the domain of GBAD systems is on mobility, scalability, networking of different systems and platforms as well as cost efficiency, reliability and modularity.