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Rheinmetall’s Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence System Reaches Important Milestone

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Rheinmetall’s Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence System Reaches Important Milestone

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Rheinmetall’s Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence System Reaches Important Milestone
Rheinmetall’s Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defense System

Rheinmetall’s Skyranger 30 mobile air defence system has reached a key milestone on the road to series production. In December 2023, the A1 configuration of the Skyranger 30 underwent a successful testing and live-fire campaign at the Group’s Ochsenboden proving ground in Switzerland, in which the system had to prove itself in stationary and mobile modes. With the Skyranger 30 slated to be introduced soon by several European user nations, this is a major advantage. The A1’s flexible design enables efficient testing and optimization of multiple customer variants with different radars and effectors.

As recently as December 2023, Hungary – a NATO and EU member state – contracted with Rheinmetall to develop a concept for a Skyranger 30 turret for the future air defence variant of the Lynx KF41 tracked armoured vehicle. Two other user nations, Denmark and Germany, also plan to procure the Skyranger 30, which in both cases will be mounted on different wheeled armoured vehicles. The central component of the Skyranger 30 is the 30mmx173 KCE revolver cannon, whose immense firepower and precision have been impressively demonstrated under the most adverse weather conditions. With the Skyranger 30 slated to be introduced soon by several European user nations, this is a major advantage.

Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence System
Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence Systeme integrated 30mm x173 Oerlikon Revolver Cannon KCE-ABM provides best of class firepower and accuracy. Combined with the Oerlikon Air Burst Munition (ABM) technology, the gun achieves a high hit probability against the smallest targets. To achieve longer ranges, SHORAD missiles can be integrated. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

The Skyranger 30 A1 is a development testbed whose purpose is to pave the way for total system qualification of the Skyranger 30 A3 in mid-2024. The Skyranger 30 A3 will decisively counter current and future aerial threats – including drones – enabling ground troops to focus on their actual mission. The well-thought-out design of its diverse array of ordnance, high mobility and state-of-the-art sensors enable both autonomous and networked operation. Moreover, the compact design of the turret allows integration into a wide variety of manned and unmanned platforms such as Rheinmetall’s 8×8 Boxer wheeled armoured vehicle. The Skyranger closes the current world wide capability gap in mobile air defence.

It is fitted with a modified version of the Oerlikon KCA 30 mm cannon used on the Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet named the KCE. While it has a shorter effective range than the Skyranger 35 at 3 km, it has a higher rate of fire of 1,200 rounds per minute. It maintains the ability to elevate 85° to combat terminal diving targets. 252 ready rounds are carried. The gun fires a 30 mm airburst munition based on the 35 mm AHEAD ammunition carrying 160 tungsten cylinders, each weighing 1.25 grams for a total payload of 200 grams, which is time-programmed upon leaving the muzzle to open up in front of a target to form a lethal cone. Due to the system’s reduced weight, the Skyranger 30 turret is able to integrate two short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence System
The German Army plans to purchase 20-30 Skyranger 30 Mobile Air Defence Systems on GTK (Gepanzertes Transport-Kraftfahrzeug; armoured transport vehicle) Boxer chassis. The planed order is closer to 20 systems according to Rheinmetall. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

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