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Giraffe the world's most advanced air defence radar

Giraffe - the world´s most advanced air defence radar

2 min read

Giraffe is easily recognisable owing to its characteristic mast which extends high above the treetops, just as the name suggests. It is one of the world's most advanced three-dimensional air defence radar systems and has diverse areas of application: everything from anti-aircraft warfare to the monitoring of major sporting events and top secret facilities.

This family of radar systems was developed in a very close association with Bofors' RBS 70 surface-to-air missile. Effective air defence requires a surveillance radar able to detect enemy attacks and rapidly transmit target data to firing units. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration approached Ericsson in Mölndal to order the development of a suitable radar system. The first deliveries took place in 1977.

In the years that followed, the basic concept was further developed in myriad versions, including one designed for the Swedish Navy – Sea Giraffe. Sea Giraffe was installed on Kockums' stealth ship Visby.

Giraffe Agile Multi Beam is a three-dimensional radar which has supplanted outdated radar systems in the Giraffe family. Normal 2D radar provides the range to and azimuth of the target. The 3D function in Giraffe is also able to provide the target's elevation. In 2011, the US Department of State placed an order for Giraffe AMB and associated services amounting to approximately SEK 155 million, one purpose of which was to forewarn staff on dangerous assignments of threats from the air.

The Giraffe radar system was originally developed for anti-aircraft warfare, but it is also highly advantageous for societal security in general. This may include anti-terrorism functions when monitoring major sporting events, political speeches and top secret facilities. For example, Giraffe monitored airspace for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and the airspace over Stockholm during President Obama's visit to the Swedish capital in 2013.