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Rheinmetall Supplying European Customer with Further Skynex Air Defense Systems

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Rheinmetall Supplying European Customer with Further Skynex Air Defense Systems

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Rheinmetall Skynex Air Defense System
Rheinmetall Skynex Air Defense System

Rheinmetall has been awarded a further contract to supply Skynex air defense systems to a European customer. The systems will enhance the customer’s ability to defend itself against aerial threats. The order has a value in the lower three-digit million euro range. The deliveries will take place over the course of 2025 and, as with the initial contract, will also include the associated Rheinmetall made HX trucks. The advanced Skynex air defence system is based on a concept that keeps airspace surveillance separate from the effectors. Owing to this modularity, and depending on the mission, the necessary assets can be linked to the command-and-control network. The system enables integration of radar equipment from various manufacturers. Skynex also offers great freedom with respect to effectors, enabling integration of many different advanced air defence weapons into the system. Having its own tracking unit is the sole prerequisite. Besides individual sensors and effectors, existing air defence systems like the Skyshield and Skyguard families can be built into the new architecture as fire units. In a remotely located command and weapon engagement centre, the recognized air situation is depicted on a map together with the sensors and effectors positioned in the field, thus simplifying allocation of targets to air defence assets connected to the system.

Revolver Gun Mk3
Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk3. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

The modern air defence system Skynex is based on a concept to separate air traffic control from the effectors. Owed to the systems modularity it enables users to plug in only the mission relevant systems into the command and control unit. Skynex allows integrating sensors from different manufacturers. Its capability to implement various types of effectors offers an additional freedom of action. The only requirement for the implementation is an integrated tracking unit. Besides the single sensors and effectors, users can also link existing fire units such as Skyshield or Skyguard in a classic fire unit configuration to the control node. The recognized air picture is portrayed on a map within the command and control center in a default location showing both the sensor and effector positions and simplifies the target designation to the linked air defence equipment.

511 Tactical
Skymaster – Battle Management System
OerlikonSkymaster – Battle Management System. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

The Oerlikon Skynex® Air Defence System is Rheinmetall’s latest solution for short-range air defence. With its open and modular architecture, it sets new standards in terms of flexibility and expandability. The Oerlikon Skymaster® Battle Management System is the control node and centrepiece of the system. Various sensors and effectors can be linked in a modular way in order to fit mission requirements. One or several medium range radars, such as the Qerlikon X-TAR3D® Tactical Acquisition Radar, provide the air picture, which is consolidated in the control node. From there, air targets are assigned to autonomous effectors via the Skymaster network. Besides the high performance Oerlikon Revolver Gun® Mk3, the Oerlikon Twin Gun® GDF009 TREO, surface-to-air missiles, means for active and passive electronic warfare and future high-energy lasers can be integrated. Such a weapon mix generates a highly effective layered protection shield against a wide spectrum of air threats and provides the necessary answer against saturation and swarm attacks in the future.

Oerlikon Twin Gun GDF009 TREO
Oerlikon Twin Gun GDF009 TREO. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

The X-TAR3D is a three-dimensional tactical acquisition radar working in X-band and performing the functions of short range search, detection, acquisition, tracking, classification and identification of air targets, in order to supply a three-dimensional local air picture to command and control network as well as track and threat data for cueing of fire control systems. X-TAR3D is specifically designed to achieve high performance against a wide range of air threats, from conventional air breathing targets (fixed wing, helicopters) to low and very low cross section objects like stealth and unmanned targets (UAV, cruise missiles), up to rockets and mortar rounds (C-RAM mission). The MSU is a remote controlled, rapid deployable sensor unit with non-rotating 3D AESA search radars, covering 360°. The platform agnostic sensor unit is capable to automatically classify detected targets and hand the generated tracks over to the most suitable cannon or missile launcher autonomously or by the push of a button.

X-Band Tactical Acquisition Radar 3D (X-TAR3D)
Oerlikon X-Band Tactical Acquisition Radar 3D (X-TAR3D). (Photo by Rheinmetall)

The Revolver Gun Mk3 is able to receive and process data from 3D and 2D search radars. The integrated X-Band tracking radar allows an autonomous sector search function which makes target designation simple, fast and reliable. Tracking and engagement is calculated and executed automatically by the integrated fire control processor. Target designation and engagement is over watched and checked in a remotely positioned command and control center. Relying on automatic cannon-based air defence, Skynex lends itself especially well to very short-range contexts where guided missiles are ineffective. Moreover, the use of programmable 35mm Ahead ammunition, as developed by Rheinmetall for this purpose, is significantly less expensive than comparable guided missile-based systems. Equally important: 35mm ammunition cannot be influenced much less jammed by electronic countermeasures when fired. The success of the self-propelled “Flakpanzer” Gepard antiaircraft system in Ukraine underscores the effectiveness of 35mm gun-based air defence against aerial targets, especially cruise missiles and drones.

 Revolver Gun Mk3
Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk3. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

The Twin Gun GDF009 TREO is equipped with a modern, network capable fire control processor and is able to receive and process data from fire control units as well as 3D and 2D search radars such as the X-TAR3D. It can be remote controlled or autonomously engage targets through its integrated sensor unit. The well approved trailer carriage with automatic alignment simplifies deployment and transportation.Owed to its state of the art architecture, Skynex is able to integrate next generation effectors such as the high-energy laser. This effector is equipped with weaponized laser modules which superimpose their beam onto the target. The multiplied output can be complemented by several laser guns on the same object. The new HALCON SkyKnight C-RAM / C-PGM missile is designed to be integrated into the Skynex air defence system. It complements cannon based systems and is capable of countering saturation attacks effectively. For cost effectiveness, the system will only attack targets with a pre-calculated point of impact within the protected area.

HALCON SkyKnight C-RAM / C-PGM missile
Oerlikon HALCON SkyKnight C-RAM / C-PGM missile. (Photo by Rheinmetall)

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