Saab Giraffes Show Counter-UAS Capabilities; Build on UK Army Contract

Saab’s agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 24 August stipulated additional Giraffe AMB (Agile Multi Beam) radar systems together with upgrades to existing Giraffe systems currently operated by the British Army. The order is valued around £47.3 million (SEK 610 million).

Speaking at DSEI in London (14-18 September), Micael Johansson, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Electronic Defence Systems, said that in total the UK would own a mix of ten new and upgraded systems.

Torbjörn Wolffram, sales director for the Giraffe range, Europe and Middle East, said that Saab had participated in live trials in the UK to demonstrate the Enhanced Low, Slow, and Small (ELSS) function of the radar.

The Bristow 15 trials were aimed at countering unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) and were hosted by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at West Freugh, Scotland. Some of the targets had a radar cross-section as small as 0.001 square metres. Some of the UAS were the size of a bird, noted Wolffram.

British forces have used Saab’s radars on operational deployment in both Iraq and Afghanistan and as a result, Saab now positions the UK Army as one of its reference customers’. Continual deployment in austere conditions have allowed Saab to continually improve its Giraffe range. While deployed the system was achieving a 98% availability rate, stated Johansson.

Deliveries to the UK MoD of the Giraffe AMB will be the first priority beginning in a couple of years followed by upgrades to the existing Giraffe systems. All work should be complete by the end of 2018.

The Giraffe 4A radar is now ready for production according to Johansson, and will be delivered to a non-European customer in Q2 2016. Earlier this year, Saab announced the Giraffe 4A which combines attributes from both the Arthur and Giraffe AMB product lines. This AESA (Active Electrically Scanned Array) radar offers improved range and performance as well as multi-functions.

The Republic of Korean Army has used the Saab’s Arthur (Artillery Hunting Radar) weapons locating system since first deliveries in 2009. In the British Army this is known as Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (MAMBA)

By Andrew Drwiega