Rheinmetall Air Defence of Switzerland is upgrading part of the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) twin 35mm Oerlikon GDF-005 towed anti-aircraft guns (AAG) to the latest GDF-007 standard.
This programme is due to be completed by 2017 and includes upgrading the current weapons to fire the latest 35mm AHEAD (advanced hit efficiency and destruction) ammunition, which has already been sold to many countries.
AHEAD has proved to have a much higher kill probability, especially against very small targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles, and is complementary to the standard suite of 35mm Oerlikon ammunition.
The AHEAD ammunition features a programmable fuze, which at the optimum moment ejects a lethal cloud of its heavy metal sub-projectile payload at the target.
The SANDF contract also includes the provision of the latest Skyshield fire control system, which includes surveillance and tracking radars plus day/night optical sensors. Once confirmed as hostile, the target is typically allocated to two GDF-007 AAG weapons for rapid engagement.
The contract also includes a training and integrated logistic support package. When the programme is complete, it will provide a step change in their air defence capability. At AAD 2014, Rheinmetall Air Defence is exhibiting its Oerlikon SkyChamp Enhanced Mission Simulator, which is the training system for the Skyshield and Skyguard air defence systems.
In addition to the latest GDF/Skyshield air defence system, Rheinmetall Air Defence is also marketing its MOOTW/C-RAM (Military Operations Other Than War/Counter Rocket and Mortar) system, which has been delivered to Germany under the name of Mantis.
This system is designed to provide a high level of protection at forward operating bases from incoming artillery, mortar and rocket projectiles, such as those encountered most recently in Afghanistan.
Mantis was originally developed for the German Army, but as part of restructuring all air defence assets of the German Army, including Mantis, this has now been transferred to the German Air Force.
All key parts of the system can be rapidly transported by land, sea and air, with the latter including being carried slung under a helicopter. A truck-mounted self-propelled version has also been developed that can be rapidly deployed.