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Ukraine conflict: Slovakia to receive MANTIS C-RAM system from Germany

Germany is donating two MANTIS C-RAM systems to Slovakia for the protection of critical infrastructure. (Luftwaffe/Rheinmetall Defence)

Germany is donating two Modular, Automatic and Network capable Targeting and Interception System (MANTIS) counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar defence (C-RAM) systems to Slovakia, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and General Eberhard Zorn, Inspekteur der Bundeswehr (armed forces chief), announced in a 7 February order of the day. They said the donation would permanently strengthen Slovak air defences and that training of specialists from the Eastern European country on MANTIS would begin in Germany in the “coming months”.

MANTIS is based on an improved version of the Skyshield system originally developed by Oerlikon, now part of Rheinmetall, and fires 35 mm advanced hit efficiency and destruction (AHEAD) air burst munitions to intercept and destroy RAM rounds before they reach their targets. Each of the two systems delivered to the Bundeswehr at the end of 2012 consists of six 35 mm guns, two radars, a command post, a maintenance console, and an operator simulator. The system can be deployed with up to eight guns.

MANTIS was designed to protect camps such as those used by German troops in Afghanistan but was only ever deployed to Mali at the end of 2017, albeit without its guns.

The MANTIS radar can acquire a target within two seconds, providing 20–30 seconds' warning of an attack. The target is then engaged by one of the guns firing a burst of up to 36 AHEAD rounds at a rate of 1,000 rds/min. Two guns directed by one radar each can engage multiple targets. After being manually activated from the command post, the system is fully automated, although a man in the loop allows for an engagement to be overruled if needed.

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