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DSEI 2021: British Army unveils GBAD programme map

A portfolio of ground-based air-defence (GBAD) capabilities is being procured by the British Army to protect its manoeuvre forces from air attack, precision-guided weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and artillery and rocket fire.

Brigadier Jon Swift, the service's head of Ground Manoeuvre Capability, told an audience at the DSEI exhibition in London on 14 September that the Land GBAD programme was fully funded and has been given a high priority by the British Army and UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The programme envisages the modernisation of existing in-service systems and the fielding of new capabilities, including effectors (missiles and weapons) and sensors, over the next decade. It is understood to be classed as a Category A programme, involving a budget of more than GBP400 million (USD554 million), although Brig Swift did not provide any specifics of the programme budget or detailed fielding timelines.

During his briefing Brig Swift confirmed that the MBDA Sky Sabre medium-range air-defence (MRAD) system would be deployed to the Falklands by the end of this month, adding that this would also coincide with a declaration of its initial operating capability (IOC).

Under the Land GBAD programme, the modernisation would be channelled into three main capability areas: short-range air defence (SHORAD), counter small aerial targets (CAST), and MRAD.

The SHORAD capability area involves improvements to the Royal Artillery's existing Thales High Velocity Missile (HVM) and Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) weapons, in addition to new and novel effectors. A replacement for the current mobile HVM platform, which is based on the Alvis Stormer vehicle, is also envisaged with a turret that could also be fitted to other platforms.

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