Rheinmetall announced a series of contracts to provide air-defence and mobil modular medical systems to European customers in the days approaching 1 March, 2024.

For the German Armed Forces, Rheinmetall will provide a fifth order of Modular Medical Facilities total system (MSE) with an order value in the mid-single-digit million-euro range, announced 1 March, 2024, and 30 Boxer based Skyranger 30 air-defence systems, worth €595m ($643m), announced on 27 February, 2024.

Also announced on 1 March, Rheinmetall will provide Skybox air-defences to an unnamed European customer, scheduled for delivery in 2025, with an order value in the lower three-digit million-euro range.

The MSE is a series of containers carrying a mobile military treatment facility and combat support hospital for use in areas of operation. The new order encompasses X-ray containers that are being replaced or regenerated to meet the current state-of-the-art technology, with newly fabricates containers housing Siemens’ scanner and diagnostic station, allowing radiological and X-ray scanning of the entire human body, including internal organs, in the lying, sitting or standing positions. This follows the award to Rheinmetall in January 2023 of a contract for the regeneration of the German Armed Forces modular medical equipment that was intended to be completed by December 2023.

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The Boxer based Skyranger 30 air defence systems contract encompasses delivery of a prototype system and 18 series production vehicles, with the prototype due for delivery at the end of 2024. It also includes and option for a further 30 air-defence systems. Skyranger will constitute a key component of NNbS short- and very-short range air-defence system, itself a a part of the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI). 

Germany is the lead nation in ground based air-defence in Europe for Nato, and the intake of the Skyranger 30 bridges a capability gap in Germany’s mobile air-defence. It combines an armament of a 30mm x 173 KCE revolver gun and surface-to-air Stinger missiles with a sensor suite, all aboard the same turret, mounted on a boxer 8×8 armoured fighting vehicle platform. 

The contract for the Skynex automatic cannon-based air-defence system, to be sold to an unnamed European customer, will also include associated Rheinmetall made HX trucks. The Skynex concept separates airspace surveillance and air-defence effectors, with modularity allowing the necessary assets to be linked to the command-and-control network, as well as the integration of a greater range of possible effectors, such as Skyshield and Skyguard, with the prerequisite that those effectors have their own tracking systems. 

The basic armament of the Skynex system is an automatic cannon, suitable for air-defence in very short-range contexts, where guided missile defence is not effective. The automatic canon uses programmable 35mm Ahead ammunition, with a cost below that of comparable missile-based solutions. 

While the 35mm Ahead ammunition is programmed by a muzzle based electromagnetic inductor, setting an electronic timer for airburst in the proximity of a target, the mechanism is robust against electronic jamming countermeasures. Rhienmetall highlight the success of the Gepard anti-aircraft system in Ukraine, which also uses an automatic cannon for air-defence purposes, as an example of the success of such systems against aerial targets, including drones and cruise missiles.