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British army unveils its new Sky Sabre air defense missile system

British armed forces has recently unveiled its new air defense missile system Sky Sabre at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island in England, home of the 16 Regiment Royal Artillery of the British army. The three main components of the Sky Sabre system include the MBDA CAMM mobile launcher unit mounted on 8x8 MAN truck, the Giraffe radar targeting system manufactured by Swedish Company SAAB and the control electronics suite provided by the Israeli Company Rafael.

British army unveils its new Sky Sabre air defense missile system CAMM launcher unit 905 001
The CAAM missile launcher unit mounted on MAN SV HX60 8x8 truck  (Picture source Army Recognition)

Sky Sabre is due in service in 2020 and will prove to be a step change in the UK’s air defenses, taking it from short to medium range capability. It will give to the British army new air defense capabilities from short to medium range, a truly integrated air defense system that will be operated both by the British Army and the British Royal Air Force.

This was the first time that the three principal components of the system had come together; the MBDA launcher unit that fires the CAMM missile, the Saab radar targeting system, aptly named the Giraffe because of its extending neck and the command and the Rafael control electronics suite from which the system is operated.

The CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile) series is a family of surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles developed by MBDA for the United Kingdom. The CAMM launcher unit is based on a MAN SV HX60 8x8 truck, mounting a crane for self-reloading, and 12 launch tubes for CAMM missiles mounted at the rear of the chassis. In road condition, the missiles are lowered to the rear part of the truck chassis. In firing position, two groups of six all-weather canister missile launchers are erected to the rear of the crew cabin.

The CAMM missile has a minimum operational range of less than 1 km and a maximum range greater than 25 km. It has a weight of 99 kilograms, a length of 3.2 meters, a diameter of 166 millimeters and reaches a supersonic speed of Mach 3 (or 1,020 meters per second). In flight, the missile can receive mid-course guidance via a data link before the active homing radar seeker takes over for the final approach to target.

British army unveils its new Sky Sabre air defense missile system Giraffe Saab radar 905 001
Giraffe radar 3D radar for the Sky Sabre air defense missile system (Picture source SAAB)

The Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of the CAAM provides the battle management command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (BMC4I) Phase II element of the UK Sky Sabre ground-based air defense.

The contract, awarded on 15 December 2016 to Rafael included the supply of its Modular, Integrated C4I Air & Missile Defense System (MIC4AD) as the BMC4I solution for Sky Sabre; MIC4AD is core architecture for integration of the networked Land Ceptor air defense missile, the Saab Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam (AMB) medium-range 3-D radar surveillance system, and other key sensors systems as required by the British armed forces.

In August 2015, Saab has secured a contract to supply additional Giraffe agile multi-beam (AMB) radar systems and associated equipment to the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD). The Giraffe is a family of land and naval two or three-dimensional G / H-band passive electronically scanned array radars, and can classify and track fixed wing, helicopter, surface, jammer, and ballistic targets, while providing coastal surveillance.

The Giraffe radar is designed to provide a full 360° update of the air situation out to 120km every second, and is able to function in challenging environments, such as mountains, complex coastal regions and wind farm areas.

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