In November 2012, the German Air Force took formal delivery of the Rheinmetall-made MANTIS air defence system at a ceremony in Husum, Germany, home of Air Defence Missile Squadron 1 ‘Schleswig-Holstein’.

Bodo Garbe, a member of the executive board of Rheinmetall Defence, handed over the system in front of the assembled troops. Also on hand were Harald Stein, head of Germany’s BAAINBw (Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support); Lieutenant-General Dieter Naskrent, Deputy Chief of Staff of the German Air Force; and Lieutenant Colonel Arnt Kuebart, commanding officer of the Air Defence Regiment.

"It is a highly effective system, capable of countering a wide array of threats in future operational scenarios."

"Thanks to MANTIS, the German Air Force now has at its disposal the world’s leading air defence system for asset protection. It is a highly effective system, capable of countering a wide array of threats in future operational scenarios. Moreover, its open architecture design makes it a future-proof investment," declared Bodo Garbe, adding, "Rheinmetall is proud of the contribution MANTIS will make to protecting our men and women in uniform during deployed operations."

An acronym standing for ‘Modular, Automatic and Network-capable Targeting and Interception System’, MANTIS provides the Bundeswehr with a high-performance, automated air defence system for asset protection that is second to none. Full integration into existing command and information systems has already been achieved, with plans in place to ensure that it meets future requirements as well. Thanks to its programmable 35mm Ahead ammunition, this cutting-edge system is capable of bringing down even the smallest targets.

MANTIS is based on tried-and-tested Oerlikon Skyshield air defence technology.

It is designed to protect military installations and critical civilian infrastructure from aerial threats coming in at low altitude, including manned and unmanned aircraft. First and foremost, however, what sets MANTIS apart is its ability to neutralize incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds – the so-called RAM threat. Moreover, MANTIS can be deployed to defend national territory and allied nations or in military operations other than war (MOOTW). In conflict and post-conflict situations, it can be used to protect Bundeswehr forward operating bases and other facilities from attacks of the kind directed against ISAF installations in Afghanistan, for instance.

Furthermore, the system’s modular design gives MANTIS excellent growth potential. If an asset has to be protected at short notice, the radar and gun components can be transported to the area of operations on quickly deployable platforms. In addition to its current 35mm Revolver cannons, it will be possible in future to augment MANTIS with other effectors such as anti-aircraft missiles or high-energy lasers, integrating them directly into the system.

MANTIS is set to serve as the mainstay of modern, ground-based area and air defence of assets, and thus makes a major contribution to safeguarding soldiers deployed in harm’s way.