Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR FEB 2017 Contents 13
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 28 | FEB 2017
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The new Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light (PMV-L)
could prove a logical mobility partner for the Australian Army’s
pending requirement for a new very short-range air defence
The VSHORADS element of Land 19 Phase 7B calls for an
enhanced ability to defeat close-range threats through either
upgrade or replacement of the legacy RBS 70 VSHORADS
In addition to operation in the dismounted role as is
currently the case with RBS 70, the requirement will likely
seek solutions that enable the system to be self-deployed by
road, meaning vehicle-mounted.
Working on the assumption that the Army will prefer
candidate systems with the ability to be ground-fired and
vehicle-fired, a remotely-operated VSHORADS launcher
complete with one or several ready missile rounds, the
launcher and control /sensor unit would weigh in the vicinity
of 250-300kg. This type of load is readily mountable on the
rear cargo bed of the single cab Hawkei and well within that
variant’s cargo payload of 3,000kg
As DTR understands it, the Hawkei when fitted with the
full top-level armour package is somewhat weight sensitive,
and any additional systems or equipment added must be
considered against the impact on available payload, centre-
ABOVE: Conceptual depiction of the RBS 70 NG remote-
operated launcher (with three ready missile rounds) mounted
on the cargo bed of a single-cab Hawkei. Images: Saab
BELOW: Saab plans to unveil a multi-wheeled LAV demonstrator
fitted with an RBS 70 NG launcher in the second half of 2017.
of-gravity (CoG), overall mass, weight distribution and air
transportability requirements, in particular that for external
transport by the CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter as an
Mounting a compact 250-300kg mass on the cargo bed
makes eminently more sense than on the vehicle’s roof, as it
avoids CoG issues, height restrictions for internal transport,
improves vehicle stability and allows for overall vehicle height
to be significantly reduced.
A VSHORADS launcher mounted on the cargo bed also
removes the need for considerable non-recurring engineering
compared to if the unit was roof-mounted – for instance to
determine structural load limits, appropriate mounting points
and associated roof structural bracing.
With the actual launcher itself likely to be sourced from the
missile system’s original equipment manufacturer, the only
elements requiring original thought would be the launcher-
cargo bed interface plate (or plinth) and onboard stowage for
around six missile reloads.
A flat-bed version of the in-service 4x4 or 6x6 G-Wagon
could equally support system weight and accommodate
stowed rounds but the end user’s understandable dislike for
deploying soft-skinned vehicles into the sort of contested
operational environments where a VSHORADS is required
would discount this option.
Associated surveillance/tracking radar units could well be
mounted in the Hawkei companion trailer. This would enable
a complete VSHORADS fire unit (vehicle with two crew
and launcher, reloads and radar) to deploy as a single self-
contained package. Alternatively, a separate Hawkei vehicle
could be used as a radar platform, although this assumes
Army has sufficient personnel to man the two vehicles.
Saab has been working on a number of vehicle-mounted
concepts for its RBS 70 NG to improve launcher mobility.
One solution comprises a pedestal-type mount which places
the weapon system and operator on the cargo bed of a
vehicle, while another option allows the operator to remotely
control the launcher from inside the cabin. Both concepts
use the same sight, launcher and missile combination, with a
Giraffe 1X radar module also factored in to provide a sense
and warn capability. Some of this initial concept work has
involved the Hawkei as the mobility platform.
Saab told DTR that current work is focussed on developing
a light armoured vehicle (LAV) demonstrator fitted with the
RBS 70 NG remote-operated launcher in the third or fourth
quarter of 2017.
Mounting a number of Land 19 Phase 7B VSHORADS on
a vehicle with good tactical mobility (moving between firing
positions) and operational mobility (moving around within
theatre) and protection for the crew against small arms and
blast threats would provide land manoeuvre forces with an
Hawkei and VSHORADS
organic capability to counter a variety of aerial threats out to
ranges of around 10km.
Such a ground-based air defence system (comprising
sensors, effectors and command, control, communications
and computing and intelligence elements) would find
utility in the type of archipelagic operations which seem at
the forefront of Army’s operational thinking. This is readily
illustrated in amphibious operations where battle group and
combat team lodgements in a contested environment require
a capability that lands with them and is able to counter the
primary threat sets associated with such tactical formations:
unmanned aerial vehicles, incoming rocket, artillery and
mortar rounds (with sense and warn provided by the Giraffe
1X radar in the case of an RBS 70 NG-based VSHORADS)
and helicopters flying nap-of-the-earth mission profiles.
There are few archipelagic/littoral missions in our region
of interest that would not encounter this kind of threat
environment. Importantly, this level of force protection would
not be afforded by longer range systems due to terrain
masking, reduced number of sensor and/or effector nodes,
– Ian Bostock
Editor’s Note: Interestingly, the Australian Army’s original Land Rover 6x6 air
defence variant for RBS 70 carried 12 stowed missile rounds in pressurised
storage containers. Seventeen such vehicles were built.
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