Experience gained in current conflicts shows that certain threats cannot be effectively countered with large, missile-based air defence systems, while other projectiles slip past the defensive shield as ‘leakers.’ First and foremost, these include mortar shells, small rockets, drones (aka unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs), and similar projectiles from the “low, slow, small spectrum.”
At IDEX 2017 next week, Rheinmetall will be showcasing its new approach to the below-PATRIOT threat spectrum in five highly realistic scenarios.
Forming the basis here is the OERLIKON SKYNEX, the Rheinmetall group’s ground-based, fully networked, future air defence system first presented at Eurosatory 2016. It features open, modular architecture, forging a wide array of sensors and effectors into a highly effective, extensively automated system. Centralized and decentralized operation and command are equally possible, and the system can be configured for either a tactical or operational role.
Highly mobile, the OERLIKON SKYNEX is ready for action in very short order. This makes it ideal for defending sensitive infrastructure and areas from virtually every form of aerial threat, both symmetric and asymmetric – around the clock and in all weathers. It instantly detects incoming rockets and artillery and mortar (RAM) rounds and even very small drones, engaging them with scalable intensity.
The core element of SKYNEX is the OERLIKON SKYMASTER command system, which stays in contact with other subsystems via a tactical communications network. This means that Rheinmetall can integrate assets such as SKYSHIELD or SKYGUARD fire units, guided missile launchers or even high-energy laser (HEL) effectors into the system.
Remotely operated and network-capable, the OERLIKON REVOLVER Gun Mk3 can be equipped with tracking sensor units such as an X-band radar as well as electro-optical sensors and electronic warfare components. This assures fast, autonomous processing of externally assigned targets.
Owing to its innovative warhead, the CHEETAH short-range guided missile is capable of countering the RAM threat posed by low, slow and small projectiles even at short distances – as well as a wide variety of other aerial targets. The CHEETAH is fired from a multiple launcher with a capacity of sixty guided missiles. Controlled from the system, several guided missiles can be launched at the same time, enabling simultaneous engagement of multiple targets at ranges of up to six kilometres.
Rheinmetall’s HEL effector is a scalable, high-precision, silent weapon system, with a virtually inexhaustible supply of ammunition.
Electronic warfare components and other sensors can also bolster the system’s performance against low, slow and small projectiles. Moreover, the OERLIKON SKYNEX can be connected via interfaces to higher echelon command levels or other air defence systems.