Air Platforms

Rheinmetall demonstrates Skyranger counter-UAV capabilities

20 September 2018

Rheinmetall demonstrated its Skyranger system against UAVs at its Ochsenboden firing range in Switzerland on 18–19 September. Source: IHS Markit/Nicholas Fiorenza

Key Points

  • Skyranger shot down jet UAVs with its 35 mm gun firing AHEAD air burst munition
  • The demonstration illustrated the “Patriot and Below Concept”, which also includes NASAMS

Rheinmetall demonstrated its Skyranger system’s capabilities to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at its Ochsenboden firing range in Switzerland on 18–19 September. The system, consisting of a Boxer 8x8 vehicle with an Mk4 turret equipped with a 35 mm Oerlikon Revolver Gun and an electro-optical (EO) tracking sensor, shot down a jet UAV by firing a 24-round burst of advanced hit efficiency and destruction (AHEAD) air burst munition on 18 September and another UAV of the same type with only three rounds on 19 September.

Rheinmetall Air Defence product manager Michael Gerber said placing the tracking sensor on the turret with the gun increases the precision of the system compared with aligning the two if they were separate. The Boxer with an Mk4 turret can carry 252 ready-to-fire rounds fired at a rate of 1,000 per minute.

The test firings were conducted using only Skyranger’s tracking function as the search function will only be ready in two years’ time, according to Gerber. Command and control was provided from a shelter by a Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) fire distribution centre (FDC) together with a Skymaster system. Fabian Ochsner, vice-president of Rheinmetall Air Defence, said the UAVs could be targeted when intersecting the beacons from two Aaronia passive emitter locators.

The destruction of the jet UAV was preceded by Skymaster queueing an Oerlikon GDF009 EO unmanned twin 35 mm gun to shoot down a quadricopter UAV seen by the FDC.

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