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Ukrainian 47th Mechanized Brigade Uses Swedish RBS 70 MANPADS to Combat Russian Aircraft

On July 8, 2023, according to a tweet from OSINTtechnical, the 47th Mechanized Brigade was seen using the Swedish RBS 70 launcher in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Sweden had promised the delivery of RBS-70 (Man-portable air defense systems).
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RBS 70 Man-portable air defense systems (Picture source: OSINTtechnical account Twitter)

In the context of the war in Ukraine, many deliveries are promised and sent, but the arrival of the equipment sometimes occurs long after the announcement. It is therefore always a small event to see one on the battlefield, as is the case here with the Swedish RBS 70 MANPADS. Let's take a closer look at the technical characteristics of this type of launcher.

The RBS 70 is a short-range Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) developed in Sweden and adopted by many armed forces worldwide. Since its introduction in 1977, it has remained an essential element of air security and has participated in various conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq War, the 1992 Venezuelan coup attempts, and the Russo-Ukrainian War, of course.

Manufactured by Bofors Defence in the 1980s and by Saab Bofors Dynamics since 2000, the RBS 70 enjoys a solid reputation for reliability and effectiveness. Weighing 87 kg, it consists of a stand, sight, and missile. It is 1.32 m long with a diameter of 106 mm and a wingspan of 32 cm.

The missile is equipped with a 1.1 kg warhead combined with 3,000 tungsten spheres and a shaped charge. Its detonation mechanism includes an adaptive proximity fuze with three selectable modes: off, normal, and small target. Propelled by smokeless solid propellant, the missile has an operational range of 250 m to 9 km and can reach an altitude of 5,000 m. It can achieve a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 (1,975 km/h) and Mach 2 (2,469.6 km/h) for the Mark 2/BOLIDE.

The guidance system of the RBS 70 is based on laser beam riding. The laser beam is emitted from the launcher, and the missile follows it until it reaches its target. This technology offers high precision and effective target-tracking capability.

The RBS 70 can be deployed on a tripod, weapon platform (ASRAD-R), or warship, providing operational versatility. It constitutes an effective defense against short-range airborne threats, including combat aircraft, helicopters, and drones.

The use of the RBS 70 by the Ukrainian army is another sign of the growing closeness and increased cooperation between Sweden and Ukraine. With the two agreements recently signed, as we mentioned on Army Recognition on July 13, 2023, the Swedes and Ukrainians continue their process of rapprochement.


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