German defence prime, Rheinmetall, conducted a live-fire campaign of the Oerlikon Skyranger 30 – its new mobile air defence system with integrated active and passive search and tracking sensors – at its Swiss proving ground in December 2023.

According to a statement from 11 January 2024, the manufacturer successfully demonstrated the A1 configuration – the testbed system – proving its performance while stationary and mobile.

The A1’s success now paves the way for total system qualification of the Skyranger 30 A3 halfway through 2024. The A1’s flexible design enables efficient testing and optimisation of multiple customer variants with different radars and effectors.

At the time of demonstration, Hungary – a Nato and EU member state – contracted Rheinmetall to develop a concept for a Skyranger 30 turret for the future air defence variant of the Lynx KF41 tracked armoured vehicle.

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By GlobalData

The Central European country procured 46 Lynx units in August last year. The Hungarian Army intends to operate the armoured vehicle fleet for reconnaissance and support alongside its future Panther KF51 main battle tanks (MBT). The Government established a joint venture with Rheinmetall to produce a demonstrator that will similarly pave the way to full-scale production.

Likewise, Denmark and Germany also plan to acquire the Skyranger 30; in both cases, the turret will be mounted on different wheeled armoured vehicles.

GlobalData tells us that Europe will has the highest cumulative spending on missile defence between 2023 and 2028.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had significant implications for Europe’s missile and missile defence industries. It has led to increased regional security concerns, highlighted the importance of collective defence within Nato, and it has spurred the development of indigenous missile capabilities.

The conflict has also emphasised the importance of interoperability and co-operation among European nations. It has highlighted the need for seamless co-ordination and joint efforts in defending against ballistic missile threats.

The central component of the Skyranger 30 is the 30mm x 173 KCE revolver cannon – its firepower and precision have been demonstrated under the most adverse weather conditions.

The air defence system can engage modern battlefield threats with a focus on small unmanned aerial targets. It combines firepower with the dynamics and elevation needed to successfully engage highly agile single or swarming targets performing loiter, pop up or dive attacks.

Depiction of mobility of the gun turret. Credit: Rheinmetall.

The Skyranger 30 systems also continuously monitors the surrounding air space with active (3D AESA radar) and passive infrared (IR) sensors.

In addition to its own air picture, targets from external search radars or higher order control systems are received and processed. The integrated fully stabilised, high resolution electro-optical (EO) sensor unit allows reliable target tracking and visual identification.

According to GlobalData intelligence, the global military EO/IR systems market, valued at $10.1bn in 2022, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.1% in the next decade. It is expected to reach $13.6bn by 2032 and cumulatively value $124.1bn over the forecast period.