The Oerlikon Skyranger is a family of short-range ground-based air defence systems developed by Rheinmetall, to provide mobile defence against existing and future aerial and ground threats on the battlefield.
The Oerlikon Skyranger family utilises several components, including Oerlikon Skyranger search radar control node, Oerlikon Skyranger gun, Stinger or equivalent Oerlikon Skyranger missile, and Cheetah Oerlikon Skyranger missile.
The Skyranger 30 High-Energy Laser (HEL) variant was added to the family as a hybrid air defence solution in 2022, to effectively counter a full range of future aerial threats.
The Skyranger 30 was showcased atop Textron Systems’ Ripsaw M5 robotic combat vehicle, demonstrating advanced counter-unmanned aircraft systems technology at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting in September 2023.
During the same month, the company introduced a new mobile cannon-based air-defence solution, the Skyranger 35 equipped with a larger-calibre gun, at the Defence & Security Equipment International 2023 exhibition and conference.
Orders and deliveries
The Danish Ministry of Defence’s Material and Procurement Agency selected Skyranger 30 for its new air defence system in May 2023. The Danish Skyranger systems are expected to be affixed to Piranha 5 armoured personnel carriers, aligning with the army’s standards for mobility and protection.
The system will also be deployed in the German and Hungarian armed forces.
Oerlikon Skyranger 30 design and details
It is integrated with a 30mmx173 calibre KCE Revolver Cannon, which fires at a rate of 1,200 rounds a minute, reaching out to an effective range of 3km. It offers high firepower and accuracy against small targets, including micro and nano drones and can also rapidly fire single shots at a rate of 200 rounds a minute.
Combined with air burst munition technology, the cannon measures 2.9m in length with a 2.1m-long barrel.
Additionally, the system is equipped with a 7.62mm CoAx machine gun. Skyranger 30 offers 252 30mm and 1,000 7.62mm ready-to-fire ammunition, as well as two rapid obscuring system smoke grenade launchers, each with nine multispectral smoke grenades.
The system can optionally include two short-range air defence missiles to achieve longer ranges.
Skyranger 30 features a remote-controlled gun or missile turret, weighing 1,500kg to 2,000kg without ammunition or 1,800kg to 2,300kg with ammunition. The turret has a swept radius of 3.6m and an elevation range from -10 to 85 degrees.
Oerlikon Skyranger 30 sensors and radar details
The Oerlikon Skyranger 30 air defence system is equipped with integrated active and passive search and tracking sensors, making it a robust and autonomous shooter with both guns and missiles.
The state-of-the-art integrated active electronically scanned array search radar and passive Fast InfraRed Search and Track sensors provide seamless 360-degree air and ground surveillance of the surroundings and data for accurate control.
Apart from its internal air surveillance data, the system also receives and processes information related to targets obtained from external search radars or more advanced control systems.
Skyranger 30 offers effective and user-friendly operation with a highly automated system, coupled with an integrated, fully stabilised, high-resolution electro-optical sensor unit that ensures dependable target tracking and visual identification.
It has an Oerlikon Skymaster command and control system and two operator consoles in the vehicle for commander and gunner.
The GCC30 fire control module provides capabilities for automatic target detection, acquisition, and tracking, as well as shoot-on-the-move for ground targets.
It can engage with agile individual or swarming targets, executing loiter, sudden ascent, or dive attacks.
Skyranger 30 HEL variant details
The hybrid Skyranger 30 HEL offers a modular combination of a conventional 30mm barrel weapon, guided missiles, and HEL, resulting in a unique mix of effectors to effectively defend the airspace.
The HEL system comprises two main components – the laser source and the beam guidance system.
Additionally, the laser weapon station, mounted on the turret, serves as both a carrier for electro-optical sensors and a means to automatically track and neutralise aerial targets with laser beams.
The system uses laser powers between 20kW and 50kW in its initial implementation phase.
Oerlikon Skyranger 35 design and details
The Skyranger 35 extends autonomous airspace surveillance and target engagement capabilities, driven by situational demands.
Compatible with both wheeled and tracked vehicles, the system includes a 35mm Oerlikon Revolver gun that leverages Ahead air burst technology.
The Skyranger 35 is designed to protect both mobile units in transit, as well as critical stationary infrastructure and facilities from airborne threats.
With a firing rate of 1,000 rounds per minute, the 35mm x 228 KDG 35/1000 revolver cannon stands as a superior weapon in its class worldwide.
It offers a range of up to 4km and shares significant compatibility with the Revolver Gun Mk3.
The inclusion of programmable time-delay ammunition significantly increases the system’s effectiveness against even the smallest aerial objects.