Roland short-range air defence missile system

The Roland short-range air defence missile system is produced by EADS Euromissile, based in Fontenay-aux-Roses, France. Euromissile, originally set up by Aerospatiale-Matra of France and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace of Germany, is now a subsidiary of EADS. The missile is produced by MBDA, formed from the missile system activities of Aerospatiale, Matra BAE Dynamics and Alenia Marconi Systems and jointly owned by EADS, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica.

Roland air defence missile system development

Roland 1 entered service with the French Army in 1977, Roland 2 in 1981 and Roland 3 in 1988. Roland has been in service in France, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Qatar, Spain and Venezuela. Over 650 systems and over 25,000 missiles have been ordered. French Army systems are mounted on vehicles based on the AMX-30 main battle tank.

Roland was in service with the German army, air force and navy. In February 2003 the Bundeswehr announced that the system would be phased out.

“The Roland short-range air defence missile system is produced by EADS Euromissile.”

The last Roland weapon system in service with Germany was decommissioned at the end of 2005. German Army systems were installed on Marder tracked vehicles. The German Army systems are being replaced with the LFK NG missile system, being developed by MBDA and Diehl.

The Roland system is effective against air threats from extremely low to medium altitude. It was produced as a standalone weapon system on a single vehicle or as an airliftable shelter, Roland Carol. Roland Carol entered production in 1995 with 20 systems delivered to the French Army and 11 to the German Air Force.

Roland modernisation programme

A number of French Army Roland systems have been upgraded. The modernisation included a new BBKS command and control system and the fitting of the infrared Glaive sight from Safran (formerly SAGEM) for automatic multi-channel target tracking. The first prototype fire unit was completed in June 1999 and trials began in September 1999. The upgraded Roland is called Enhanced Roland M3S. The second prototype in the CAROL shelter-based configuration was completed in October 1999.

A plan to upgrade German Army Roland systems with new digital computers and displays, improved digital missile fire control and measures to enhance communications with the German Army air defence control system (HFlaAFuSys) was cancelled. An upgraded prototype, designated Roland NDV, successfully completed troop trials in June 2003.

Roland anti-air missiles

The system is capable of firing Roland 2 and Roland 3 missiles and the Roland VT1 hypervelocity missile. Roland 2 and 3 missiles have command to line-of-sight guidance and hollow charge warhead, with both impact and proximity fuzing. Roland 3 has longer range, 8km to Roland 2’s 6.3km. It also has a larger warhead, 9.2kg, to Roland 2’s 6.5kg.

“A number of French Army Roland systems have been upgraded.”

The Roland VT1 hypervelocity missile is manufactured by Euromissile under license from Thales (formerly Thomson-CSF), who developed the missile for the Crotale NG missile system. The VT1 has a speed of 1,250m/s and range of 11km. The command to line of sight (CLOS) guidance uses radar and electro-optical sensors. The missile is armed with a focused blast and fragmentation 13kg warhead, initiated by an RF proximity fuse.

Ten missiles are carried, two in the launch beams and eight in the magazines. Reloading is possible in six seconds.

Fire control and surveillance

The Roland M3S has a dual surveillance system and 3D radar and infrared sensors operating in parallel. The target tracking system involves radar, infrared and CCTV operating in parallel with instantaneous channel switching. Missile tracking is performed by the radar and dual wavelength infrared tracker, operating in parallel with automatic selection of the optimum channel and instantaneous channel switching.

The system has a 3D X-band surveillance radar. The frequency-agile track-while-scan radar has a range of 25km at a maximum altitude of 9km. The tracking radar has a range of 20km.

The Safran Glaive integrated electro-optic sight, developed for the Roland 3 modernisation, includes: a dual field of view thermal camera based on a 288×4 IRCCD (infrared charge couple device) detector; dual field of view CCD TV camera; eyesafe laser rangefinder; and infrared missile tracker operating at 1 micron and 10 microns. Range is stated as 20km for aircraft and 10km for helicopters.

“Roland Carol is installed in a lightweight, compact aluminium shelter, which weighs 8.3t.”

Command and control

The upgraded Roland has a new BBKS command and control system with three multi-function colour displays, new guidance computer, co-ordination computer and MIL-Bus interconnection. The system is capable of being integrated into ground-to-air C3I (command, control, computer/intelligence) systems and is interoperable with systems such as Patriot, Hawk and AWACS.

Roland CAROL

Roland CAROL is installed in a lightweight, compact aluminium shelter, which weighs 8.3t. The system is air-transportable on C-130 Hercules or C-160 Transall aircraft and can be installed on a range of carriers, trailers and trucks. French Army systems are mounted on a semi-trailer towed by ACMAT 6×6 truck. German systems were mounted on MAN 6×6 vehicles.

The system has two missiles ready for firing, with eight in reserve in two vertical magazines holding four missiles each.

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