The mobile shield that will transform ground-based air defence
The battlefield is changing. With the advent of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles and other advanced weapons, airborne threats are diversifying all the time, and keeping ground units safe is harder than ever. Saab’s Mobile Short-Range Air Defence (MSHORAD) system is a vehicle-integrated solution that can identify, counter and neutralise air threats quickly, effectively and decisively.
In our previous article about ground-based air defence, we discussed how the battlefield has become a much more complex arena, with an ever-expanding, multi-faceted series of threats. The advances in drone and unmanned aerial technologies mean that these threats are more unpredictable and more difficult to stop than ever.
The time has come for a GBAD solution that can meet this challenge head-on. And that solution is now being developed and tested by Saab. It’s called Mobile Short-Range Air Defence system, or MSHORAD, for short. It is vehicle-integrated for maximum mobility and flexibility, and it uses established Saab technology.
The world’s most modern and capable air defence system
“What we are offering here is the world’s most modern and capable short-range sensor, combined with the world’s most modern and capable ground-based air defence system,” explains Emil Holm, Director of Technical Sales Support for GBAD Missile Systems at Saab.
"What we are offering here is the world’s most modern and capable short-range sensor, combined with the world’s most modern and capable ground-based air defence system"
“And it’s based on proven and mature technology,” adds Paul Wooldridge, the Product Director at Saab who is responsible for MSHORAD.
“The Mobile Firing Unit is based upon the successful RBS 70 NG Sight mounted on Saab’s mature Trackfire servo platform, the Mobile Radar Unit uses the proven Giraffe 1X radar, with command and control capability provided by Saab’s BM4CI .
“We know all of this very well. It’s all in-house capability. Any customer can come to Saab and have this complete MSHORAD capability delivered by a single prime contractor that has the in-house skills to deliver - we don’t have to buy it in from a third party.”
"It’s all in-house capability. Any customer can come to Saab and have this complete MSHORAD capability..."
Paul Wooldridge is keen to emphasise the advantages of this approach.
“This is Saab showing that we have a system of systems capability. Customers can understand that the prime contractor can act responsibly and with authority,” he says.
While it is true that there are other Mobile Short-Range Air Defence systems out there, none have yet been updated so specifically to meet the multiple challenges of the new battlefield arena as Saab’s product. The advantage of Saab’s MSHORAD is its great flexibility, as Paul Wooldridge explains:
“We have the unique selling point it’s possible to remove the RBS 70 NG Sight from the vehicle and deploy it in a man-portable air defence (MANPAD) configuration to provide additional technical capabilities as the operation requires."
“For example, if you wanted to hide the vehicle in some way, and deploy MANPAD, or if RBS 70 NG Sight was needed on top of a building for some reason, then it’s flexible for those other scenarios,”
Giraffe 1X covers the entire search volume every second and will detect any air threat, including small, slow, high and low targets.
“The mobility of the system, especially at short range, is everything if we are to defeat weapons and weapon systems, such as drones or attack helicopters, that are attacking the ground units requiring protection,” adds Emil Holm.
“Saab’s MSHORAD provides protection for mobile units and of course the operator too, who after all is the most important part of the system, because the vehicle offers ballistic protection increasing the survivability of the operation and the crew. And there’s no downtime with our MSHORAD compared with a fixed system,” he says.
The next step in the project
Saab’s MSHORAD is a milestone project for Saab. The next step in the project’s development is to continue to assess different capability options to enable Saab to offer a range of solutions to fulfil the customer’s needs.
“We’re making good progress in achieving a capability that we know is required by several nations,” says Paul Wooldridge.
"It’s about keeping people safe and increasing defence capabilities dramatically.”
For Emil Holm, MSHORAD is more evidence of the breadth of Saab’s capabilities.
“What we’re showcasing now – a turnkey ground-based air defence system - is just a small proportion of what Saab can do as a company. It’s about keeping people safe and increasing defence capabilities dramatically.”
More about MSHORAD
Air threats are ever-evolving. Our MSHORAD Solution provides a highly mobile and formidable anti-air capability to effectively identify,deter, or neutralize airborne threats.
Ground-based air defence more vital than ever
Over the past decade, battlefield threats have evolved into something much more complex and unpredictable, through a mixture of new advanced weapons technology, shifting geopolitical tides and changing battle scenarios. Ground-based air defence is more important than ever, but in updated, more mobile form, as Emil Holm from Saab explains.