The Australian Defence Force has selected Saab to upgrade the RBS 70 ground-based air defence weapon system and Giraffe AMB radar, which are currently in service with the Australian Army.

Under a A$32.5m ($24.9m) contract, Saab will upgrade the existing identification friend or foe (IFF) capability of the RBS 70 and Giraffe AMB systems to include Mode 5 functionality.

The IFF dramatically reduces the risk of accidentally engaging friendly aircraft.

Saab Australia managing director Dean Rosenfield said: “Saab’s IFF Mode 5 upgrade will ensure the Australian Army’s RBS 70 and Giraffe AMB radar capabilities continue to provide world-leading force protection against a wide range of air threats.”

Using modern modulation, coding, and cryptographic techniques, the Mode 5 waveform is said to overcome performance and security limitations in the current Mode 4 application.

"Saab’s IFF Mode 5 upgrade will ensure the Australian Army’s RBS 70 and Giraffe AMB radar capabilities continue to provide world-leading force protection."

The Mode 5 systems also provide expanded data-handling capabilities to securely share GPS positions and other extended data.

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The upgrade will support Australia’s ground-based air defence capability operating in a joint and coalition airspace environment beyond 2030, Saab said in a statement.

The RBS 70 weapon system has been in service in Australia since 1987, while the Giraffe AMB radar was acquired in 2010.

Following weapon sight and missile upgrades, the RBS 70 continuous to be a modern and potent missile system to counter evolving air threats.

The Australian Army’s 16th Air Land Regiment uses the Giraffe AMB radar to provide high-fidelity airspace situational awareness, while simultaneously detecting incoming rocket and mortar attacks and hostile fire.

Image: The upgrade will enhance the Australian Army’s ground-based air defence capability. Photo: courtesy of Saab.