‘Path-breaking Solution’ is a Holistic Approach to GBAD
Cooperating closely with Raytheon, Rheinmetall Defence is working on a plan to network all relevant sensors, platforms, effectors and C4I assets into a single, scalable system of systems to provide the Bundeswehr with what it describes as “a path-breaking solution encompassing the whole complexity of ground-based air defence (GBAD).” This will create a highly effective, modularly scalable and flexible air defence system covering the Bundeswehr’s full mission spectrum.
Short- and Very Short-range Air Defence
The phasing out of the ROLAND and GEPARD mobile air defence systems leaves the Bundeswehr with very limited capabilities in the area of short- and very-short range air defence, or SHORAD. Rheinmetall’s lightweight air defence system ensures that this capability can be maintained through to 2025.
Effective SHORAD – NNbS in German military parlance – requires a total system concept, one which is capable of neutralising incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds – the so-called RAM threat – as well as bringing down unmanned aerial systems, especially in the low, slow, small (LSS) subset, e.g. quadrocopter drones. Finally, the system has to be able to deal effectively with conventional aircraft flying at close range. As an experienced SHORAD supplier, Rheinmetall’s proposal calls for a mix of automatic cannon and guided missiles, and in the nearby future augmented with high-energy laser weapons.
Tactical Air Defence Systems
Over the next few years, the Bundeswehr will be using the PATRIOT integrated air and missile defence system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, for example. Rheinmetall is Raytheon’s national partner for evolving PATRIOT in Germany.
A phased upgrade from the current PATRIOT Config 3+ system to next-generation (NextGen) status will meet the future requirements for a long range GBAD system.
Even in the concept phase, the systemic approach embodied by Rheinmetall’s SHORAD and the PATRIOT NextGen meets the requirements for comprehensive, adaptable, modular air defence, enabling a single-source approach covering all aspects of air and missile defence.
PATRIOT provides the backbone of integrated air and missile defence for six NATO nations and eight other partner countries, making it globally interoperable. A multinational solution, it significantly lowers lifecycle costs thanks to a common threat database and modernisation costs shared across the 14-nation partnership.
Scalable Tactical C2 Design
Rheinmetall envisages a flexible, role-based C2 architecture for its GBAD system. The scalable tactical operations centre concept with flexible C2 architecture enables optimised force composition in line with given specific operational tasks.
“VSHORAD” Army Programme
Complementing the German Air Force’s capabilities in GBAD, the German Army has articulated a demand for an organic air defence capability against microdrones, to be available for NATO-VJTF 2023. The operational demand envisages a wheeled air defence vehicle protecting units at very short range from aerial threats during deployed operations. Here, Rheinmetall can offer a market-ready system. Future use and integration of those VJTF 2023 components into the SHORAD system is assured, thus representing sustained investment.