When equipping the Army with the ability to so-called qualified antiaircraft another milestone being targeted: In April and May, companies should make a comparison test with their weapons systems and sensors. Requirement for participation is a request on the part of the Bundeswehr Procurement Office BAAINBw that had not yet been made at press time.
Companies had to register their interest until January 7 of this year, if they want to participate in the tender for the procurement of up to ten weapons systems to qualified air defense. The aim was to provide "for a limited time, operationally and technically limited self-protection against the threats of micro and mini UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) in close range," it says in the announcement. The army plans to introduce ten systems for use in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) or NATO spearhead in the year 2023rd According tight the schedule is to supply the new technology.
"The skilled anti-aircraft is part of the air defense system for local and long range protection (LVS NNbS)", it said in the announcement. They protect movable led operations of the land forces and spaces and objects against the target range according to target catalog, time of the day, under almost all weather conditions as well as under the influence of measures of electronic combat and under NBC conditions.
As it says in Bundeswehr circles, must first be carried out permission to use the new weapons systems in the first quarter of 2022 for the timely participation in the VJTF. several dozen million EUR will be available for the project.
The host calculates a control range of up to 1,000 meters for small UAS, which have approximately the size of a football. Against other aircraft weapon system should be able to be used up to 3,000 meters. These requirements should also be reflected in the design of the comparative testing.
were advertised weapons systems with a system solution consisting of effector and sensor based on a weapon station. For the procurement procedure to a unit of the new system for taking place from April tests - apparently in Meppen and Baumholder - are available. The samples are returned on completion of testing compared to bidders.
Although the skilled anti-aircraft is considered part of the project NNbS, but is not involved in the air situation picture and the integrated air defense. For senior management of ground-based air defense is held only by radio contact. A connection as via the link 16 is not provided. According to insiders, this is permanent, among other things on the number of years qualification of such involvement by the Federal Office for Information Security. Finally, there is the connection to a so-called red network with a high security level.
at least the Norwegian Kongsberg Group and the German system, Rheinmetall want to participate in the upcoming test shooting. As it is, the Düsseldorf-based company is expected to compete with a grenade machine gun in caliber 40 mm. The gun is mounted on a produced by KMW and modified weapon station FLW 200th Kongsberg has weapon stations of its own production. The company has already sold worldwide from its System Protector several thousand copies to several customers.
Originally, the testing of qualified anti-aircraft should be in the fourth quarter 2018th Technical delays and peat fire in Meppen, however this schedule nixed. After the current planning, this results in a delay of about six months.
After the phase paper capability gap Functional requirement for NNbS was drafted last year, it is said from the command Air Force that perhaps in a next step, the selection decision by the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr could be signed mid-year. After that, the procurement process can start.
For the first phase of NNbS the Bundeswehr intends to use market-available technology. According to reports, the Battle Management System had been established. The Netherlands also plan to introduce soon the Battle Management System. Finally, the ground-based air defense of the Dutch armed forces and the army is very closely linked to each other via the project Apollo. The German anti-aircraft missiles Group 61 was assumed as part of this cooperation, the Dutch air defense in Vredepeel. Since the timelines for the introduction of NNbS and the replacement of the Dutch systems Nasams and Stinger similar course, the Dutch also look with interest on the decisions in Germany. Possibly arise in the future further opportunities for joint procurement.
While in Germany already the guidance system and the IRIS-T SL medium range effector were set when NNbS, there is still no decision on the central area sensor. Unlike in the Netherlands: a radar has been selected with the multi-mission radar from Thales Nederland. The contract for the production of nine copies, three for air defense, gave the Dutch Procurement Agency DMO early February of 2019.
In Germany is currently still evaluating which missiles coming for short range below the IRIS-T SL for protecting the mobile front organizations in question. And such a study is clearly in the RBS70 of Saab, the Mistral MBDA and IRIS-T SLS Diehl take a closer look.
If the concept of qualified antiaircraft prove and capabilities not provided by the Air Force as part of NNbS, the army apparently planning with 72 systems in 2027 and up to 144 systems in 2032 to equip their combat troops battalions with it.
Observers therefore believe that it is, first is the ten units if they are equipped with a 40 mm grenade machine gun is an interim solution. Because due to the low velocity of the projectile weapon on agile drones can work effectively only a few hundred meters. Combating UAS to more than one kilometer could be difficult, however.
The timing for the parent NNbS projects provides that the first fire unit should be available in the 2023rd Until then, more efficient solutions are likely to be on the market which have approximately a cannon with airburst capability in caliber from 30 mm. Observers expect that by then the Skyranger Rheinmetall - is fully developed - an autonomous 35mm cannon installed by your own search and fire control radar. Such a weapon system mounted on a wheeled tank Boxer, the company showed last year for the first time in live fire on its test site Ochsenboden in Switzerland.
The planners of the air force also show interest in a solution, the cannon and missiles on a platform combined. However, one has seen such systems so far rather from Russian production.
With regard to the operational doctrine, there are also considerations, according to which the mobile weapons carrier could be used without using its own sensors in passive mode to impede the discovery. The target data would then be provided from the data network of the guidance system. These talks would aim to launch an effector without Log on and assign a target until later. For this, however, a powerful connection to the management system is needed that is not given in the context of qualified air defense.
Fight against small drones
Regardless of how the decision to qualified air defense fails, the project should provide important insights regarding the detectability and classification of small drones.
Experiences in this field have already made a number of companies that offer products for protection against drones. For example, the Munich-based technology group Rohde & Schwarz. The company has developed a solution claims to which the radio waves to control a UAV can be gepeilt - already when switching on the remote control. Thus a drone pilot can be detected quickly. The company has also built up a database of electromagnetic signatures available on the market drones, which is the manufacturer constantly maintained. Such threat databases are not unusual in air defense.
So grab about a dozen user nations of the Patriot system back on such a common database. And the Bundeswehr, the company IABG GmbH commissioned to undertake a study to ward off UAS to develop a signature database and maintain. This is clear from the response of the Federal Government to an inquiry by the Group of the Left in the Bundestag.
Approaching drones can be disturbed if required by jamming and off course, so Rohde & Schwarz. Only the control signals to the drone are blocked according to the manufacturer, while other functionalities such as mobile phones, are not affected.
The Munich-based company has introduced its capabilities to protect against drones into the overall system GUARDION developed together with ESG and Diehl. In this system, other approaches to detect drones are included, such as a radar and acoustic and optical sensors. With the entire package weaknesses of the individual sensors are to be compensated. It is not to recognize a pre-programmed drone without remote control and without signal emission from the Rohde & Schwarz approach, but can be cleared up with a radar. By means of data fusion from the different sensors will be developed an improved picture of the situation at Guardian also.
These approaches to education drones also be considered by the Air Force with interest and could possibly be incorporated into the concept of NNbS with.
Author: Lars Hoffmann