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British Army receives Sky Sabre air-defence system

The British Army has begun receiving the Sky Sabre air-defence system, which comprises the Giraffe GAMB (left), SAMOC (centre), and Land Ceptor missile delivery vehicle (right), which would normally operate up to 15 km apart. (Crown copyright/British Army/Sgt Tom Evans)

The British Army recently received the first tranche of the Sky Sabre air-defence system. The UK's Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation said on its website on 6 December that it had delivered the system to the Royal Artillery.

Sky Sabre is operated by the 7 Air Defence Group's 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, West Sussex. The system is replacing Rapier, which is in its fifth decade in service and is being phased out.

Sky Sabre is composed of a Rafael Surface-to-Air Missile Centre (SAMOC) for command-and-control, a Saab Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam (GAMB) 3D medium-range radar with a range of 120 km, and an MBDA Land Ceptor launcher and Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM). The Link 16 tactical datalink allows Sky Sabre to share information with Royal Navy vessels, Royal Air Force systems, and NATO allies.

Giraffe is already in service with 7 Air Defence Group's 49 Battery.

DE&S said the completely integrated Sky Sabre would provide “a step change in the force's medium-range capability and, with it, unprecedented speed, accuracy, precision, and target acquisition”. Major Tim Oakes, senior training officer for the training programme to convert from Rapier, said that Sky Sabre “is capable of hitting a tennis ball-sized object travelling at the speed of sound [and] it can control the flight of 24 missiles simultaneously whilst in flight, guiding them to intercept 24 separate targets”.

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