Saab’s new family of ground-based radars is nearing readiness for delivery, and the first two systems are in the final stages of industrialisation.
First announced last year, the Giraffe 1X, 4A and 8A radars employ the latest GaN (gallium nitride) semiconductor technology, which allows transmissions at higher powers than is possible with GaAs (gallium arsenide) and other semiconductor materials.
Including the existing Giraffe AMB multimission air defence/force protection radar and Arthur weapon-locating systems, Saab’s current radar portfolio covers all air defence needs from very short to long ranges. The sensors can be tailored for fixed, transportable or mobile applications, and can also be employed at sea.
They are designed for air transportability in C-130-sized aircraft, or as underslung loads for helicopters.
Available from next year, Giraffe 1X is the smallest of the family, intended primarily for the GBAD (ground-based air defence) role, but also providing a sense and warn (S&W) capability against mortars and rockets. A feature of the Giraffe 1X is its ability to see down into valleys to detect ultra-low-flying targets. Instrumented range is 75km, and 13km against a very small target flying at up to 4,000m altitude.
Also available in 2016 is the larger Giraffe 4A, a long-range air defence radar with a 280km instrumented range and the ability to operate in a surface mode. It also has a weapon-locating capability, as well as S&W.
Scheduled to have completed development in 2018 is the larger Giraffe 8A, an air surveillance radar with an instrumented range in excess of 500km and the ability to spot a small UAV at 200km. Giraffe 8A provides ballistic missile tracking capability and a high track refresh rate due to its high rotating speed of 24rpm.
While Saab’s development focus is on the new GaN radars, the company continues to achieve success with its 120km multimission Giraffe AMB, which is in service with a number of nations. The UK MoD has recently ordered four more in the latest Mod C version, and at the same time is upgrading six existing radars to the same standard. The UK radars are being modified to provide an S&W function, and improved battle management capabilities. Changes in the signal processing provide longer range, and the radars will be compatible with the forthcoming MBDA FLAADS missile system.
The Mod C Giraffe AMB system is expected to be deployed to the Falklands.