The Oerlikon Skyguard 3 is a modernized version of the legendary Skyguard 1 air defense missile/twin-cannon system. Made by Rheinmetall Air Defence, the state-of-the-art Oerlikon Skyguard 3 places the latest advances in technology at the disposal of Skyguard users, while maintaining the existing transport concept. With its two 35mm Oerlikon Twin Gun® GDF009, it is optimised for the protection of stationary high value assets such as air fields, bridges, industrial installations and military command and control centres. The Oerlikon Skyguard 3 is characterized by a high degree of networkability, up to three fire units can be linked to form their own network. In addition, a battle management system assures extremely short reaction and engagement times. This 35mm twin gun/ Skyguard III modernization program also includes all necessary fire control functions for Ahead engagement.
The Skyguard 3 features two high-performance 35mm anti-aircraft cannon GDF 007 for short-range engagements and two guided missile launchers, giving the system greater reach. The 35mm anti-aircraft twin-gun is the weapon which is used for short range air defense against fighters, bombers, helicopters drones, cruise missiles, dispensers, guided missiles and guided bombs. The 35mm Oerlikon twin-gun is controlled by a Fire Control Unit (FCU), but it can also be operated by a gunner in the autonomous mode. The normal burst-either from two 35 mm GDF 005 twin guns or two 35/1000 guns-consists of 25 rounds and is fired within about 0.7s. These 25 rounds contain more than 3,800 sub-projectiles. The Oerlikon GDF 35 mm twin cannon is a towed anti-aircraft gun made by Oerlikon Contraves (now Rheinmetall Air Defence AG). The system was originally designated as 2 ZLA/353 ML but this was later changed to GDF-001. It was developed in the late 1950s and is used by around 30 countries.
The 35mm AHEAD (Advanced Hit Efficiency and Destruction) ammunition is designed specifically for small, very low and fast-flying targets such as drones, dispensers and missiles, and it can be used by all 35 mm guns retrofitted with the muzzle-velocity gauge and an electronic processing unit. As a comparison, a burst of HEI ammunition contains some 50-60 rounds, but the kill probability against small targets is much lower. Thus, despite its higher costs, the AHEAD round is much more cost-effective than HEI. The AHEAD round ejects a lethal shower of 152 spin-stabilized sub-projectiles, with a mass of 3.3 g each, in a cone with a io° opening angle released by each round just “ahead” of the approaching target, at a position determined by a programmable, electronic, time fuze in the base of the projectile. The Skyguard 3 35mm cannon can be coupled with the ASRAD (Advanced Short Range Air Defence System) missile.
The Skyguard 3 is a multi-role air defence command and fire control system. The existing high fire control performance in the classical low level air defence is extended to counter, in addition the whole missile threat spectrum. The systems’s sensor unit of the Skyguard 3 Fire Control Unit is highly ECM resistant, while the target detection alarm and threat evaluation is followed by automatic handover to the tracking sensors. The multi-sensor tracking unit is a combined radar plus TV/laser/IR module with high sensor dynamics for interference-free precision tracking. The 35mm twin gun/Skyguard III fire units in a tactical deployment can be integrated into a C4I system and/or networked together to form a network. For such a network up to three Skyguard III fire units can be located at separation distances of up to 3 km.