Rheinmetall Presents Future-Oriented Concept for Ground-Based Air Defence

In close cooperation with Raytheon

Successful air defence demands a holistic approach. This is why Rheinmetall – Europe’s foremost maker of military systems and equipment – wants to supply the German armed forces with a path-breaking solution encompassing the whole complexity of ground-based air defence. Here, the Düsseldorf-based high-tech group is cooperating closely with America’s Raytheon.

Rheinmetall’s plan calls for networking all relevant sensors, effectors, platforms and C4I assets into a single, scalable, system of systems. This will create a highly effective, modularly scalable and flexible air defence system covering the Bundeswehr’s full mission spectrum.

Short and very short-range air defence

The phasing out of the Roland and Gepard mobile air defence systems leaves the Bundeswehr with very limited capabilities in the area of short and very short-range air defence, or SHORAD. Rheinmetall’s lightweight air defence system ensures that this capability is maintained through to 2025.

Effective SHORAD – NNbS in German military parlance – requires a total system concept, one which is capable of neutralising incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds – the so-called RAM threat – as well as bringing down unmanned aerial systems, especially in the low, slow, small (LSS) subset, such as quadrocopter drones. Finally, the system has to be able to deal effectively with conventional aircraft flying at close range.

As an experienced SHORAD supplier, Rheinmetall’s proposal calls for a mix of automatic cannon and guided missiles, and in the nearby future augmented with high-energy laser weapons.

Tactical air defence systems

Over the next few years, the Bundeswehr will be utilising the Patriot integrated air and missile defence for defence, such as against tactical ballistic missiles. Rheinmetall is Raytheon’s national partner for evolving Patriot in Germany.

A phased upgrade from the current Patriot Config 3+ system to next-generation (NextGen) status will meet the future requirements for a long-range ground-based air defence system.

Even in the concept phase, the systemic approach embodied by Rheinmetall SHORAD and the Patriot NextGen meets the requirements for comprehensive, adaptable, modular air defence, enabling a single-source approach covering all aspects of air and missile defence.

Patriot is in the backbone of integrated air and missile defence for six Nato nations and eight other partner countries, making it globally interoperable. A multinational solution, it significantly lowers lifecycle costs thanks to a common threat database and modernisation costs shared across the 14-nation partnership.

Scalable tactical C2 design

Rheinmetall envisages a flexible, role-based command and control architecture for its ground-based air defence system. The scalable tactical operation centre concept with flexible C2 architecture enables optimised force composition in line with the given specific operational task.

‘VSHORAD’ army programme

Complementing the German Air Force capabilities of ground-based air defence, the German Army has articulated the demand for an organic air defence capability against microdrones, to be available for NATO-VJTF 2023. The operational demand envisages a wheel-mounted air defence vehicle protecting units in the very short range from aerial threats during deployed operations. Here, Rheinmetall can offer a market-ready system. Future utilisation and integration of those VJTF 2023 components into the SHORAD system is assured, thus representing sustained investment.

Rheinmetall – a powerful systems supplier for the modern military

Headquartered in Düsseldorf, Rheinmetall is a publicly traded, globally operating high-tech enterprise. Founded in 1889, the group today consists of two operational components: Rheinmetall Defence and Rheinmetall Automotive. Last year, Rheinmetall’s 21,600 employees generated sales of around €5.9bn.

Today, Rheinmetall numbers among the world’s top makers of cannon-based air defence systems and is pioneering the use of high-energy laser effectors. As well as the Patriot missile air defence system, all other ground-based air defence systems in the Bundeswehr inventory come from Rheinmetall: the Wiesel-mounted LeFlaSys lightweight air defence system and the C-RAM protection system Mantis for very close-range engagements. LeFlaSys is currently deployed in the Baltic States, and Mantis in Mali. Follow us on Twitter: @rheinmetallag.

Raytheon – a technology and innovation leader

Raytheon Company, with 2017 sales of $25bn and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specialising in defence, civil government and cyber-security solutions.

With a history of innovation spanning 96 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Follow us on Twitter: @Raytheon.

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