The Bundeswehr is planning to deploy the Modular, Automatic and Network capable Targeting and Interception System (MANTIS) counter-rocket, artillery and mortar defence (C-RAM) system for the first time to Mali. Deployment of MANTIS in the “sense and warn” configuration, without 35 mm guns, is expected in November, the Luftwaffe told Jane’s. This will increase the safety of soldiers in Mali, where the threat from rockets, artillery and mortars in increasing, the Luftwaffe explained. In June the Bundeswehr held Exercise ‘Big Ophelia II’ in the Gefechtsübungszentrum des Heeres (GÜZ), the German Army’s Combat Training Centre in Letzlingen, eastern Germany, to prepare for the deployment of MANTIS to Mali.
Nächstbereichschutzsystem MANTIS (Modular, Automatic and Network capable Targeting and Interception System), formerly titled as NBS-C-RAM (counter-rocket, artillery and mortar), is the latest very short-range protection system of the German Army, intended for base-protection, particularly in Afghanistan. It is produced by Rheinmetall Air Defence, a subsidiary of Rheinmetall of Germany. It is a part of the army’s future SysFla air-defence project.
The NBS C-RAM system is supposed to detect, track and shoot down incoming projectiles before they can reach their target within very close range. The system itself is based on Oerlikon Contraves’ Skyshield air defence gun system.
An NBS C-RAM system consists of six 35mm automatic guns (capable of firing 1,000 rounds per minute), a ground control unit and two sensor units. The entire system is fully automated. The guns fire programmable “Ahead” ammunition, developed by Rheinmetall Weapons and Munitions – Switzerland (formerly Oerlikon Contraves Pyrotec). The ammunition carries a payload of 152 tungsten projectiles weighing 3.3g each.
The German Army has ordered a first batch of two systems, with more being planned. These two systems cost around €110.8 million, plus another €20 million for training and documentation purposes. In a follow-on contract, worth around €13.4 million, Rheinmetall will also deliver the corresponding ammunition to the German Army. The German Bundeswehr took over the first MANTIS system on January 1, 2011.