Rheinmetall has been awarded by an international customer to supply air defence systems. The deliveries, which also include ammunition and spare parts, are scheduled to be completed in 2024. The total value of the order is around €65 million. The systems ordered are Oerlikon Skyguard 3 with GDF009 twin guns and airburst-capable AHEAD ammunition, also produced by Rheinmetall. The order is of great importance to Rheinmetall. Not only does it strengthen existing customer relations, but it also underscores the high degree of confidence in Rheinmetall’s world-leading expertise in the field of ground-based air defence.
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). It was developed in the late 1950s and is used by around 30 countries. The GDF-009 model is based on a four-wheeled carriage, and is raised off the ground by three stabilisers when deployed in the firing position. It also features an automatic levelling system that can compensate for a maximum tilt angle of up to 7°.Mounted on the forward part of the carriage is the integrated battery, which functions as the gun’s power supply unit and can be recharged from an external source if required.
The Skyguard combines state-of-the-art target detection, tracking sensors, sophisticated fire control and ballistic computation with the twin guns’ accuracy and high rate of fire of up to 1,100 rounds per minute. Firing Rheinmetall’s well-known Ahead air burst ammunition, it can take out even the smallest targets and provides excellent saturation resistance due to the large number of ready-to-fire ammunition rounds. Skyguard systems can also incorporate an optional SAM module based on the GDF’s mount and radar system but with the guns replaced by four missile canisters.
The Skyguard fire control system performs air surveillance, target acquisition, calculation of the derivative-action values and control of the twin 35 mm guns. Pulse doppler search radar, pulse doppler tracking radar and co-axial television camera are mounted on the roof of the towed trailer. Skyguard is operated by four people. The radar is deployed quickly through the use of hydraulic systems for antenna erection. The trailer houses the crew of two and a small power generator. A typical fire unit consists of two twin 35 mm gun platforms with a single Skyguard fire control radar.