Contract extension for use of Saab MAMBA artillery radar system by British army

DE&S awarded a £46 million contract to extend the British Army’s use of its Saab Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (MAMBA) weapon-locating radar systems.

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A Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (MAMBA) Radar in Al Amarah, Iraq, being used by K Battery, 5 Regt, Royal Artillery (RA),  fitted on a Hägglunds BV-206 (Picture source: British army).

The contract secures the continued use of the life-saving critical operational counter-fire capability that has been in service since 2003, supporting operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to DE&S, the contract will see the company work with the Royal Artillery’s 5th regiment based in Catterick, to ensure the capability remains in service until 2026.

ARTHUR, an acronym for "Artillery Hunting Radar", is a Counter-battery radar system originally developed jointly for and in close co-operation with the Norwegian and Swedish armed forces by Ericsson Microwave Systems in both Sweden and Norway. It is also used by the British Army, under the name Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar, or Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (MAMBA). It is a mobile, passive electronically scanned array C-Band radar for the purpose of enemy field artillery acquisition and was developed for the primary role as the core element of a brigade or division level counter-battery sensor system.

The MAMBA system works by giving advanced warning signals to troops on the front line by detecting incoming hostile fire. It is a highly-mobile weapon locating system, used for tasks including counter-battery missions and fire control, tactically deployed close to the forward line of troops. Based on the calculations produced by MAMBA, priorities are made and directions are provided for effective counter-battery fire. In fire control mode, MAMBA will track the projectiles of own fire and extrapolate the points of impact. In sense and warn mode, extrapolation of points of impact of incoming fire will trigger a timely warning to its own troops.

The radar is now developed by Saab Electronic Defence Systems (after EMW was sold to SAAB in June 2006) and Saab Technologies Norway AS. The vehicle carrying the radar was originally a Bandvagn BV206 developed and produced by Hägglunds but is now more often delivered on trucks with ISO fasteners.

Deliveries of the MAMBA mid-life extension will take place between 2022 and 2023, with the support contract covering 2020 to 2026.