STUTTGART, Germany – Saab successfully demonstrated the live-fire of its mobile short-range air defense (MSHORAD) system for the first time in late August, the company announced Sept. 5.
The live fire demonstration took place Aug. 30 in Karlskoga, Sweden, before a delegation of officials from 15 nations, per a company press release. The company’s MSHORAD system consists of a mobile radar unit based on Saab’s Giraffe 1X radar, and a mobile firing unit focused around the RBS 70 NG missile system. The two units are connected by Saab’s ground based air defense command-and-control (GBAD C2) system.
Five successful firings were performed using the RBS 70 NG, mounted on a Czech-built SVOS MARS S330 4x4 vehicle, against targets including an unmanned aerial system, and an elevated helicopter airframe. A night firing was also performed against a towed target, Saab said.
“These successful firings proves that we have a fully operable mobile air defense solution,” said Stefan Öberg, head of Saab’s missile systems business unit. “These firings highlight the value of a single supplier being able to deliver everything from radar to the firing unit, including a GBAD C2 solution.”
Company officials called the MSHORAD system Saab’s response to the “new battlefield era, with airborne threats such as the advent of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles and other advanced airborne threats.” The concept first debuted in 2017. The RBS 70 NG has an effective range of over 9 km and is capable of hitting targets up to 5,000 meters high. Saab’s Bolide missile can reach a maximum velocity of Mach 2.
One or several mobile radar units can support one or more mobile firing units, per a presentation provided by the company. The system can be operated autonomously, and is meant to be easily integrated into higher-level C2 systems. The mobile firing unit can also be seamlessly transitioned into a man portable air defense system (MANPAD), using the same sight and missile capabilities.
The delegation included members from both NATO and non-NATO nations, Saab said in an email to Defense News. Specific countries were not named, but the company said it has seen interest from countries that would be new users of a Saab GBAD system, as well as from its existing customer base for the RBS 70 in its MANPAD configuration.
Vivienne Machi is a reporter based in Stuttgart, Germany, contributing to Defense News' European coverage. She previously reported for National Defense Magazine, Defense Daily, Via Satellite, Foreign Policy and the Dayton Daily News. She was named the Defence Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2020.