Germany furthers C-RAM system
Following the delivery of the Skyshield MANTIS C-RAM air defence system to the Luftwaffe in June, Rheinmetall has confirmed that the system will not enter operation in Afghanistan.
Speaking to a media briefing in Dresden on 19 July, Fabian Ochsner, VP of Rheinmetall Air Defence, said the MANTIS C-RAM achieved IOC earlier this year.
‘It’s now officially fielded with the German Air Force. It will remain in Germany; it won’t go to Afghanistan,’ Ochsner explained.
‘This obviously is a chance missed for us – what will they do now Afghanistan has fallen by the wayside? On our side of the house we entered shop before it got cancelled.’
The system is operational with the Flugabwehrraketengeschwader 1 Luftwaffe squadron. One tactical system has been delivered and the second system will be delivered ‘later this year’.
Although it will not enter the Afghan theatre, Ochsner said that the air force still has a requirement for two more systems.
‘We hope if funding becomes available we can start to negotiate later this decade- but this is a good start.’
Through qualification, which was achieved in ‘spring 2012’, the data that was produced was better than the company anticipated.
‘It’s very highly automated so no user action is required,’ Ochsner continued. ‘The machine can do everything – the man in the loop still has to do the identification though.’
MANTIS can operate up to eight guns depending on the FOB that needs to be protected.
‘When protecting an FOB your component is probably coming close’, he explained. ‘We’re trying to neutralise these targets mid-air.’
Two systems work together for maximum performance, but if one fails the other can continue the mission. Switching between one target and another takes some 3-4 seconds.
‘We have an air defence system and we are looking to augment this,’ he continued. ‘What’s lacking is the laser and we’re looking at this. We’re trying to combine the innovation on the laser side with the expertise on the air defence side.’
The MANTIS with a laser system was demonstrated last year.
‘With this test we’ve shown we can engage a flying target with the laser. We have a clear idea of what we want to do with this.’
The company is looking at using two telescopes in the laser system, because ‘the laser dot is very small so has no tolerance; you need to build them up’.
Source: By Beth Stevenson in Dresden - Shephard News - 23 July 2012
Photo: The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Skyshield MANTIS C-RAM Air Defence System (Photo by Shephard)