A new video published by the Singapore Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the Saab RBS 70 New Generation (RBS 70 NG) Short-range Air Defense (SHORAD) Man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) simulator has been delivered to the only city-island-nation. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has procured the Saab RBS 70 NG MANPADS as part of its air defense renewal efforts. The announcement was made by the RSAF chief, Maj Gen Kelvin Khong, in a Singapore Airshow interview. The new system, which is a rectangular sighting window, can be seen at the 1:42 mark of the video. The previous system employs a circular window.
The RSAF’s Divisional Air Defence Group (DAG) has been operating the RBS 70 since 1980, but it was upgraded with the Bolide missile in 2011. However, weighing 35kg, it required another person to carry the 15kg clip-on thermal sights. Originally designed and manufactured by the Swedish defense firm of Bofors Defence (now Saab Bofors Dynamics, since 2000). The RBS 70 is operational with the Swedish Armed Forces and has also been exported to 18 countries worldwide, including Australia, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Latvia Norway, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Tunisia, and the UAE.
The RBS 70 NG’s integrated digital sights with thermal function bring a reduced weight of 25kg, which will be welcomed by RSAF personnel as they usually deploy these MANPADS on buildings in various air defense scenarios. The mount, incompatible with older sights, is also the interface for the IFF and tracking radar. The digital system means that commanders can share the operator’s view of the target, enabling better decision-making, especially in peacetime scenarios. The NG’s external tracking function enables the missile to utilize its full range of 9km as minute thumb movements during manual tracking means the missile readjusts itself and loses energy faster.
In addition to superb MANPAD benefits, RBS 70 NG’s sight has been specially designed for even greater flexibility and modularity. The system’s cutting-edge design also means that it can integrate with various vehicles, and has networked and remote-control compatibility. Of interest is how the RSAF will motorize the RBS 70 NG, with the incumbent V-200 already slated for retirement. A new possibility is URO VAMTAC 4×4 vehicles, but the back-blast safety radius of 60° and 2m mean the driver’s cab would be in the way unless the firing mount is raised. the RSAF is currently evaluating other systems for the DAG, these are likely to replace the M113 Mechanised Igla system.