Skip to content Go to main navigation Go to language selector
Saab Global
Saab´s mobile short air-defence system

Mobility key to modern air defence

3 min read

With aerial threats rapidly evolving, Western nations are now addressing gaps in their ground-based air defense (GBAD). What´s needed are short-range air defence systems that combine agility with ease of deployment. 

The global security environment is rapidly evolving. A defence strategy that proved highly effective just a few years ago can quickly be made obsolete by changes in technology, geopolitics and military strategy. According to Mats-Olof Rydberg, Head of Marketing and Sales at Saab´s Business Unit Missile Systems, that’s just what has happened with the ground-based air defence (GBAD) approaches taken by many western nations.

Gaps in the defence matrix

While the US and many of its allies have focused their GBAD efforts on long-range solutions designed to combat fighter jets and inter-continental ballistic missiles, smaller, more nimble aerial threats have quickly evolved, creating gaps in the defence matrix.

With a static system, the defence can only be in one particular place, but with a mobile solution, you can take it wherever you go and wherever it’s needed§
Mats-Olof Rydberg

“The traditional threats like fighters, transports, helicopters and missiles are still there, but we’re seeing a new threat in really small combat unmanned aircraft systems (UAS),” says Rydberg. “These don’t even have to be military, they could be adapted from civilian systems. They could weigh anything from between two and 20 kilograms, and they pose a significant threat.”

Mats-Olof says the United States is among those players to have now recognised the need for improved short range (SHORAD) and very short range (VSHORAD) air defence, with the nation now looking to urgently to close this defence gap.

GBAD part of the solution

According to Rydberg, as western nations move to improve their defences, it’s essential that they consider GBAD solutions that offer mobility and flexibility to combat the proliferation of the new threats.

“With a static system, the defence can only be in one particular place, but with a mobile solution, you can take it wherever you go and wherever it’s needed.”

Rydberg says a great example of this is using mobile GBAD for national defence. “If you’re defending a large nation, it’s generally not possible to have static air defence units everywhere,” he says. “But a mobile solution allows you to transport the GBAD to where it will be most effective.”

Benefits of mobility

Mobile GBAD also brings major advantages when armed forces are on the move. A true mobile system can be deployed at very short notice, providing outstanding situational awareness and cover on the move.

Rydberg says with the majority of modern battles taking place in urban environments, mobile GBAD allow for air defence systems to be operated from vehicles and roof tops, providing the coverage needed in complex settings.