Saab Dynamics has been awarded a SEK3.2 billion (USD358.5 million) contract by the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) for the development and production of a new, next-generation RBS15 anti-ship missile to equip the Royal Swedish Navy's Visby-class corvettes and Swedish Air Force JAS Gripen E multi-role fighters.
The contract, signed on 31 March, also includes funding for the sustainment of the existing ship-launched RBS 15 Mk II and air-launched RBS 15F weapons through to end-of-life.
The new extended range weapon, which will be produced in both air-launched and ship-launched configurations, appears to be a re-architectured development of the existing RBS15 Mk 3 anti-ship missile, embodying technology enhancements in the airframe, navigation suite, onboard processing, and Ku-band active radar seeker. Saab will also leverage composites and other unspecified componentry to reduce weight and gain range, Görgen Johannsen, head of Saab's Dynamic Business Area told Jane's.
Saab has not yet assigned an official designator for the new missile, although FMV internal designations refer to the new missile as Rb 15 Mk 3+ for the ship-launched variant, and RB 15 F-ER (Extended Range) for the air-launched variant. Saab is partnered by Diehl Defence, which will reprise its role on the RBS15 Mk 3 programme by supplying subsystems and performing final assembly and integration.
Johannsen said that while the missile is linked to the RBS 15 family, it is a 'totally new missile'. "We of course build on our history, but the capabilities of this missile differ significantly from the earlier RBS15 variants in terms of range and seeker capability...yes it is a development from what we have done earlier, but it is a new missile. We have been asked to improve the all-weather capability and develop a significant range enhancement. When you see the missile you will observe similarities to what we have done before, but the customer has drawn up a totally different requirement, which makes this a completely different missile."
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