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Swedish SAAB RBS 70 Missile in Ukraine Demonstrates High Anti-Drone Capabilities Against Russian UAVs

December 25, 2024 – Recent combat experiences shared by Ukrainian soldiers have highlighted the effectiveness of the Swedish SAAB RBS 70 MANPADS (man-portable air-defense missile system) in countering Russian drones on the battlefield. In a significant development on December 24, 2024, the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade of Ukraine successfully shot down a Russian reconnaissance UAV "Supercam" using the Swedish-made RBS 70 system.
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On the left side, RBS 70 is used by Ukrainian soldiers. The RBS 70 is a man-portable air-defense missile system designed to intercept and destroy a wide range of aerial threats. (Picture source Twitter and U.S. DoD)

On November 17, 2022, the Swedish approved the donation of RBS 70 MANPADS (man-portable air-defense missile system), including ammunition, to Ukraine. This strategic move was part of Sweden's support to Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict. Following the donation, Ukrainian soldiers underwent intensive training in Sweden starting a week later. They were trained on the Swedish air defense system, known as RBS 70, a system renowned for its rapid deployment capability and effectiveness against a variety of targets, including cruise and patrol missiles, as well as aircraft and helicopters.

According to information from Ukrainian military sources, since the RBS 70 MANPADS were deployed in Ukraine, they have been instrumental in bolstering the country's air defense capabilities. Notably, the system has been credited with the downing of a Russian Ka-52 helicopter, in addition to neutralizing cruise and patrol missiles, showcasing its versatility and precision.

These successful engagements underscore the RBS 70's strategic value on the battlefield. Its ease of operation, combined with its effective range and capacity to engage various types of targets, has made it a vital asset in Ukraine's defense arsenal. The system's performance in combat situations has not only demonstrated its capabilities but also reinforced Sweden's role in supporting Ukraine during this conflict.

The RBS 70, developed by Saab Bofors Dynamics, is a man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) that offers a comprehensive set of features for effective air defense. Its portability allows for rapid deployment and repositioning, making it highly adaptable in various combat situations. This mobility is a significant advantage in responding to dynamic aerial threats.

Equipped with a laser beam riding guidance system, the RBS 70 ensures high accuracy in targeting. This technology minimizes the likelihood of missing, increasing the probability of hitting fast-moving targets. The laser guidance also makes the system less susceptible to countermeasures and jamming, enhancing its reliability.

The RBS 70 is designed to engage a wide range of aerial threats, including helicopters, drones, and fixed-wing aircraft, thanks to its all-target capability. This versatility is crucial in modern warfare, where the nature of aerial threats can vary significantly. Furthermore, the system boasts a short reaction time, allowing for rapid engagement once a target is identified. This capability is essential for defending against sudden aerial attacks and protecting high-value assets and ground forces.

The system's effective firing range is approximately 8 kilometers, with the capability to engage targets at altitudes up to 5 kilometers. This range and altitude coverage make it suitable for a wide array of aerial threats. Operating the RBS 70 involves a crew of typically two operators: one for targeting and launching the missile, and the other for surveillance and target acquisition. The straightforward targeting and firing process, combined with a short reaction time, allow for rapid engagement of threats.

In summary, the RBS 70's combination of mobility, accuracy, all-target capability, rapid response, broad engagement range, and altitude coverage make it a robust and reliable air defense solution for modern military forces. Its adaptability to different operational requirements and integration with other defense systems ensure its effectiveness against evolving threats.

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