Aerial Warfare

Saab Delivers Bolide Missiles for RBS-70 MANPADS to Lithuanian Armed Forces

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Saab Delivers Bolide Missiles for RBS-70 MANPADS to Lithuanian Armed Forces

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Saab RBS 70 Bolide Man-portable Air-defense Systems (MANPADS)
Saab RBS 70 Bolide Man-portable Air-defense Systems (MANPADS)

On May 31 the Lithuanian Armed Forces (Lietuvos ginkluotosios paj?gos) received the Bolide-type missiles for its RBS-70 short-range man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) to improve air defence efficiency. The contract with the Swedish company SAAB Dynamics AB on acquisition of the Bolide and MK-2-type missiles for the RBS-70 short-range man-portable missile air defence system was signed in the autumn of 2022. The delivered missiles are worth approx. EUR 15 million. The order includes missiles for Saab’s ground-based air defense system RBS 70, which Lithuania has been a user of since 2004.

The RBS-70 is used by the Lithuanian Armed Forces Air Defence Battalion. It was selected for the task on the basis of uncomplicated maintenance, mobility and resilience to electromagnetic jamming. The Ministry of National Defence channels funds to strengthen air defence in reflection of the lessons learned in Ukraine as the Lithuanian Armed Forces modernization is continued. Over 45% of the national defence budget, which constitutes nearly EUR 1 billion, is planned to be dedicated to the Lithuanian Armed Forces modernization in 2024.

Bolide missiles for the RBS-70 aircraft defence system delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Bolide missiles for the RBS-70 aircraft defence system delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. (Photo by Lithuanian MoD)

RBS 70 (Robotsystem 70) is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) designed for anti-aircraft warfare in all climate zones and with little to no support from other forces. Originally designed and manufactured by the Swedish defence firm of Bofors Defence (now Saab Bofors Dynamics, since 2000). It uses the RB 70 missile, which is also in use in a number of other Swedish missile systems. The RBS 70 is a Short-range Air Defense (SHORAD) laser guided missile system. Currently, RBS 70 is operational in 20 customer countries, on all continents and in arctic, desert, and tropical environments.

Mk 1 and Mk 2 followed shortly and are the standard RBS 70 with a range of 5,000–6,000 m and a ceiling of 3,000 m. In 2003 the “BOLIDE” upgrade system was introduced to the RBS 70. The fourth generation, the Mach 2 “BOLIDE” missile is an RBS 70 Mk 2 upgrade that is faster (Mach 2 vs Mach 1.6), with a range up to 8 km (5.0 mi), improvements of the IFF-system and the ability to add a BORC thermal imager and can reach an altitude of 6 km. The auto-tracking RBS 70 Next Generation with an integrated thermal imager came in 2011, now with a range of 9000 metres and 5000 metre height coverage

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