Saab moves towards mobile RBS 70 NG variants | World Defense

Saab moves towards mobile RBS 70 NG variants


Dec 5, 2014
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Saab moves towards mobile RBS 70 NG variants
Robin Hughes, Karlskoga, Sweden - IHS Jane's Missiles & Rockets
25 August 2015

RBS 90 NG being fired from a 4x4 Land Rover during vehicle-mounted trials. Source: Saab Dynamics

Key Points

  • RBS 70 NG has been successfully trialled on vehicles and ships
  • Further development options could include range and performance upgrades to the Bolide interceptor
Saab Dynamics is currently assessing a number of vehicle-mounted/launch-under-armour solutions as part of the development path for its RBS 70 (Robotsystem 70) NG very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) system.

Leif Sätterström, Director of Technical Sales Support for Air Defence at Saab Dynamics told IHS Jane's that the current development is in response to specific customer requests for a vehicle-mounted solution for the RBS 70NG.

The company is evaluating two vehicle-borne development options: a roof-mounted system, with the gunner firing from the NG stand; and a vehicle-integrated, remotely operated roof-mounted option, with the gunner operating under armour inside the vehicle. In addition, the company is also evaluating a ship-mounted version of the RBS 70NG, with the gunner firing from the NG tripod mounted on the deck of the ship.

The vehicle roof-mounted and ship-mounted variants provide for the complete RBS 70NG firing unit (missiles, sight, and stand) to be removed from the host platform and re-deployed on the ground. In the remote control version the sight can also be removed and used as a man-portable air defence (MANPAD) system with an additional tripod stand. Saab said that both vehicle mounted variants have been trialled successfully with a multi-launcher RBS 70NG variant.

The company is also considering a mast-mounted option for which the launcher and NG site are integrated on a telescopic mount that can be elevated for target engagement from vehicles deployed in wooded terrain or closed urban environments.

Proposed integration platforms range from main battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers to 6x6, and potentially, 4x4 vehicles. "The physical dimensions and the weight of the RBS 70NG are not issues when talking about heavier platforms. We are adding about 100 kg along with a number of missiles," Sätterström said. He confirmed that the company has already conducted a number of trials with the roof-mounted RBS 70NG system on 4x4 vehicles and on a 'concept APC'.

The RBS 70NG is a command line-of-sight (CLOS) guided system with laser beam-riding interceptors. The baseline RBS 70NG - which comprises a launch container with interceptor, a tripod, and an NG sight - builds on the earlier RBS 70 MANPAD system but adds an advanced, integrated sighting system, along with either a third-generation Mk 2 (7 km range) interceptor or the fourth-generation Bolide (8 km range) all-target interceptor.

The key improvement is the new NG lighter weight sighting system, development of which has only just been finalised. This includes an integrated thermal imager (the earlier RBS 70 variant used a BORC clip-on thermal imager), an auto tracker for improved aiming/guidance, an improved acquisition and engagement system to shorten the engagement sequence, 3-D visual cuing, automatic after-action video, and improved HMI functions for the gunner.

The improved weight and remote operating capability makes the sight central to the RBS 70NG vehicle integration initiative. Sätterström said that the company is also evaluating further weight reduction possibilities for the sight.

While the NG sight is compatible with all RBS 70 interceptors (Mk 1, Mk 2, and Bolide), Sätterström said that with the new Bolide interceptor, an RBS 70NG system with a triple launcher can launch all three interceptors near-simultaneously using a colour-coded frequency selection option from a menu on the sight.

Separately, Bo Almqvist, Director of Strategic Projects at Saab Dynamics told IHS Jane's that the company is currently considering a number of improvements to the Bolide interceptor. Bolide, with its jam-resistant beam-riding guidance, is a development of the earlier Mk 2 with a new sustainer rocket motor, providing for increased missile speed and manoeuvrability.

Almqvist said that prospective upgrades could include "improving the intercept range [Bolide has a current intercept range of 8,000 m and altitude coverage excess of 5,000 m]; improving the adaptive proximity fuse [which currently has three selectable modes: off, normal, small target], and improving the speed [currently given as Mach 2]."

No mention was made of changes to the current shaped charge/pre-fragmentation effect warhead.

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Concept of a vehicle-integrated RBS 70 NG air defence system. (Saab Dynamics)

Concept of a vehicle-integrated RBS 70 NG air defence system. (Saab Dynamics)
Saab moves towards mobile RBS 70 NG variants - IHS Jane's 360