The British Army’s Royal Artillery (RA) has received the new Sky Sabre air defence system from Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), an organisation within the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The new air defence system will be replacing the Rapier that has been operational since the 1970s.

Sky Sabre will be operated by 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, based in Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, West Sussex.

The regiment has undertaken a training programme to facilitate the transition from Rapier to Sky Sabre.

The Sky Sabre air defence system features three main components: the surface to air missile centre (SAMOC) command and control, a giraffe agile mutlibeam (GAMB) radar, and the land ceptor launcher and missile.

The radar is capable of rotating 360° on an extending mast and can scan up to distances of 120km to identify threats.

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By GlobalData

The common anti-air modular missiles (CAMM) used in the system can destroy fighter aircraft, drones and laser-guided smart bombs.

The launcher can fire missiles in a unique multi-directional manner to reduce its signature, thereby making it difficult for adversaries to identify its location.

According to a MoD statement, Sky Sabre can hit a tennis ball-sized target travelling at the speed of sound.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Sky Sabre’s spearheading technology has significantly upgraded the protection of our forces from threats from the air. This cutting-edge of defence system is a clear demonstration of our warfighting capabilities to those who wish to do us harm.”

The 16 Regiment Royal Artillery is now accepting the first section of Sky Sabre. The system can be configured to operate in all parts of the world.

16 Regiment Royal Artillery Commanding Officer lieutenant colonel Chris Lane said: “We will be able to compete with our peers and take on some of the toughest adversaries.

“It gives us a capability we have not had before; this new missile system with its new launcher and world-class radar will absolutely put us at the forefront of ground-based air defence.”