The fourth edition of the 35mm Air Defence Systems Group took place at the Rheinmetall facilities in Zurich, Switzerland, from 17 to 19 September 2018. The highlight of the event was a live demonstration of the Oerlikon Skyranger Gun and the Oerlikon Twin Gun GDF009 EO. Each system successfully engaged dynamic targets. The Oerlikon Skyranger Gun is a high-mobility, highly effective, future-proof wheeled armoured air defence vehicle based on the battle-tested Boxer, born and bred for network-enabled operations. The GDF009 EO twin-gun air defense system is a new modification of the 35-mm anti-aircraft guns manufactured in 1961 and purchased no less than 36 countries.
The heart of the new Oerlikon Skyranger Boxer is the air defence module, equipped with an Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk3 turret. The system features an integrated sensor unit with X-band tracking radar and electro-optical sensors as well as electronic warfare components. This enables swift, autonomous engagement of externally assigned targets. The Skyranger can receive and process target data from both 2D and 3D search radars. Furthermore, the integrated search sensor technology and Oerlikon Skymaster battle management system give the Skyranger an autonomous sector-monitoring and target engagement capability. The tried-and-tested 35mm x 228 cal. Revolver Gun delivers massive firepower and excellent precision. Teamed with Rheinmetall’s proprietary Ahead airburst ammunition, the Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk3 is extremely effective against low altitude aerial targets of virtually every type.
The GDF009 EO in the standard configuration consist of two 35-mm automatic cannon Oerlikon KDC with a rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute per gun. It fires 35 x 228 mm standard projectiles and has an effective range of 4,000 m in the air defence role. Target information is fed to the weapon by an associated fire-control unit (FCU) such as the Oerlikon Skyguard, with a Skyguard FCU typically managing two GDF-009 AAGs. The Oerlikon GDF or Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon is a towed anti-aircraft gun made by Oerlikon Contraves (renamed as Rheinmetall Air Defence AG following the merger with Rheinmetall in 2009). The system was originally designated as 2 ZLA/353 ML but this was later changed to GDF-001. The GDF009 EO is GDF upgraded with AHEAD system.
In partnership with Raytheon and Kongsberg, the German defense giant also introduced a new “Patriot and Below Concept” to existing and potential customers and to journalists. A layered air defense system, the Patriot and Below Concept involves the Raytheon Patriot, Kongsberg’s NASAMS and the Rheinmetall Oerlikon Skyranger Gun. The three companies demonstrated their system capabilities within a detailed war game, using multiple air defense systems to annihilate short-range and medium-range ballistic targets, while simultaneously conducting an anti-aircraft and anti-cruise missile operation. The scenario successfully concluded with Rheinmetall’ systems automatically targeting and destroying moving and static small UAVs. Command and control capability was provided from a NASAMS fire distribution centre (FDC) together with a Skymaster system.