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Saab Global
Chris Shepherd

The capability to protect the Royal Navy

3 min read

Having spent over 20 years as an Anti-Ship Missile Defence and Intelligence specialist in the Royal Navy, I am well versed in the intricacies of surface to surface guided weapons and how they can be defeated. In this role, I can see first-hand the importance of a credible surface to surface guided weapon which can be effectively deployed with confidence at range.

It is clear there have been advancements in seeker technologies, but these systems remain challenged in adverse environmental conditions prominent throughout the world. In my role at Saab, I use my expertise to highlight the pros and cons of such systems and why active radar seeker technology remains key in the employment of surface to surface guided weapons globally.

The Royal Navy has a need to replace a Surface to Surface missile capability, which has been in service for over 30 years. As anti-ship missile and hard kill technologies have evolved, the ability of this system to accurately engage long range surface targets has significantly diminished. The advent of the Carrier Strike Group has brought about the need to deter and defeat enemy warships at an enhanced range, whilst having the ability to defeat electronic countermeasures and offensive systems. Such a system must have the ability to be effective in all weather conditions and support the Royal Navy requirements throughout the world.


In service with 6 different countries and NATO accredited, RBS15 is an established surface to surface guided weapon, which through a number of variants, has been in service for over 30 years. Extensively proven at range and employing an active radar seeker, the system has the ability to operate in all weather conditions throughout the globe. With one of the largest comparable warheads on the market, RBS15 certainly packs a punch whilst minimising salvo sizes and unit costs.

With a strong pedigree in aerospace and electronic warfare, RBS15 has a unique flight profile to counter the most capable hard kill systems and supports an advanced active RF seeker which has been continuously evolved to counter the latest anti-ship missile defence techniques. Such an advanced and proven combination, allows the Captain and Warfare Team to have the upmost confidence that the allocated target will be correctly identified and engaged at maximum range in all environmental conditions.

In addition to land and air launched variants, RBS15 has been fitted on a number of different platforms, which include Patrol Boats, Corvettes and Frigates. With a minimal internal and external footprint onboard, RBS15 adopts an open architecture approach in line with all Saab products in order to satisfy Navy Digital standards and a common architecture approach. This unique design feature will offer a seamless and expeditious integration path to meet the critical demands of the Royal Navy.

The rapid and seamless introduction of RBS15 onto the Type 23 frigate will offer a significant capability enhancement to the Royal Navy. The insertion of a proven, but advanced surface to surface guided weapon will complement the Carrier Strike Group concept and offer complete assurance when engaging enemy targets at long range in all weathers throughout the world.

Chris Shepherd

Director - Maritime Sales, Saab UK