Skip to main content

Rapier Air Defense


 
Rapier low-level ground-to-air defense missile system
 
 
 
a
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology
 
Description
The Rapier low-level surface-to-air missile system was developed by the former British Aircraft Corporation, Guided Weapons Division (today known as MBDA), from the early 1960s onwards to meet the requirements of the British Army and Royal Air Force Regiment for a missile system to replace the towed 40 mm L/70 Bofors air defense guns then in use. The first production order was placed by the British MoD in June 1967 and the first production units were delivered in July 1970. The system achieved initial operational capability with the British Army and Royal Air Force in 1973.
 
Variants
- Rapier II: This is the current export version of the basic towed Rapier and is based on the requirement laid down by the British MoD for use by the Royal Artillery and Royal Air Force air defence units.
- Rapier Darkfire: The launcher has six missiles in the ready to fire position, compared to four in the original system, and has a new 3-D Racal/Northern Telecon surveillance radar which provides increased acquisition accuracy and range, helicopter detection mode and considerably improved ECCM (including an ARM quiet mode).
- Rapier FSC: current system use by the British army.
 
Technical Data
Back to top
Launcher unit
The main component of the towed Rapier system is the launcher, which is carried on a two-wheeled A-frame trailer. When in the firing position, the wheels are removed and it is stabilised on four adjustable legs. The launcher consists of a large cylindrical unit carrying two missiles on each side, the surveillance radar dish and "Identification friend or foe" (IFF) system under a radome on top, the guidance computer and radar transmitter and receiver electronics at the bottom, and a prominent parabolic antenna for sending guidance commands to the missiles on the front.
Missile
The Rapier missile has a streamlined monocoque body of circular cross-section and consists of four main sections: warhead, guidance, propulsion unit and control. The 1.4 kg warhead section contains the semi-armour-piercing warhead, with 0.4 kg of explosive, a safety and arming unit and crush fuze. A collapsible plastic nosecone is fitted to the penetration head to provide optimum aerodynamic shape. Engagement time to the maximum effective range was about 13 seconds. Response time from the start of the target detection to missile launch is about 6 seconds, which has been repeatedly confirmed in live firing. The Mk 2 Rapier missile, which is now the only version in production, is fully compatible with all new versions of the Rapier missile system including Optical Rapier, tracker Rapier, Rapier Darkfire, Rapier FSC and Jernas. The 43-kg Mk 2 missile exists in two versions and has a 15 to 20 per cent increase in range. One version retains the semi-armour-piercing warhead of the original, the other has a combined fragmentation and armour-piercing warhead and dual crush and proximity fuses.
Radar and control components.
The optical tracker stands on a tripod which has a levelling jack on each leg and consists of a static column with a rotating head providing 360º coverage in azimuth. Movable prisms in the rotating head provide between -10 to +60º elevation coverage. The wide field of view is 20º and the narrow field of view 4.8º. The computer normally controls operation with operator override at any time to select the narrow option. The operator is provided with a binocular sight for target tracking and has a few simple controls to operate the system. A second monocular sight is provided at the rear of the static column, which an instructor can use to monitor students' performances during field training.
The Tactical Control Unit (TCU) provides tactical control facilities and is connected by cable between the launcher and optical tracker. It is divided into 32 sectors in azimuth, each sector covering 11.25º. By operating sector switches, blind arcs can be built up as required to provide `safe' channels for friendly aircraft or to set in priority arcs of fire.
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology Blindfire all-weather guidance radar for Rapier missile
Although accurate and simple to use, the original Rapier system clearly suffered from a lack of all-weather capability. To address this need, BAC started work on a separate radar guidance unit, primarily to improve foreign sales. This led to the introduction of the Marconi DN 181 "Blindfire" radar in 1970, the first examples being sold to the Iranian Army in 1973. The British Army did not purchase the Blindfire system until 1979, entering service with Rapier "Field Standard A" (FSA). By 1997 more than 350 Blindfire radars had been produced.
Mobility
In the British Army, the Rapier was normally towed by a 4x4 light tactical vehicle Land Rover. The launcher unit can be also towed by light armoured vehicle or mounted at the rear of heavy truck to increase the mobility of the whole system.
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology Rapier missile launcher unit towed by a 4x4 Land Rover light tactical vehicle
Operations
The Rapier missile is capable of engaging supersonic, low level, high manoeuvrability aircraft and can be towed behind medium size vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carriers. It is air-portable by transport aircraft or helicopters.
The radar, together with the IFF, provides for the early detection and warning of approaching aircraft and helicopters. The launcher turntable rotates through 360º and carries four missiles in the ready to launch position, two on each side. The command transmitter and aerial, which provide the link between the computer in the base of the launcher and the missiles in flight, is located between the two banks of two missiles.
The fire units comprise eight crew, a towed Rapier launcher, a radar tracker, two light vehicles and one vehicle with missile resupply trailer. A basic load of 17 missiles for the unit is carried. A trained crew in less than 2.5 minutes can reload four replacement missiles. The surveillance radar can detect low-flying targets in the presence of heavy ground clutter out to a range of more than 15 km and the missile itself can engage targets at 7,000 m, giving an overall intercept coverage of 150 km2 per fire unit.
 
Specifications
Back to top
Type
Low-level ground-to-air missile system
Country users
Brunei, Indonesia, Iran,Oman Qatar,Singapore,Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates
a
Designer Country
United Kingdom
a
Combat weight
1,227 kg launcher unit
a
a

Crew
8
Type of engaged targets
supersonic, low level, high manoeuvrability aircraft
Missile
Weight: 42.6 kg
Weight Warhead: 1,4 kg
Warhead type : HE semi-armour-piercing
Flight speed: 650 m/s
Range and altitude
Range: 500 - 7,000 m
Altitude: 15 - 3,000 m
Guidance sysem
semi-automatic optical command line of sight, thermal command line of sight or automatic command line of sight using tracker radar
Dimension launcher unit
Length, 4.06 m; Width, 1.76 m; Height, 2.13 m
 
Details View
 
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology
 
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology
   
Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology Rapier low level ground surface to air missile technical data sheet description information specifications intelligence identification pictures photos images British United Kingdom defence industry army military technology
 
Pictures - Video
Back to top
a
 
 

 

 

Copyright © 2019 - 2024 Army Recognition | Webdesign by Zzam

Discover the power of advanced AI with the new Military Equipment Guide App (MEGA) by IDDEA. Instantly recognize and identify military equipment with unparalleled accuracy. Enhance your knowledge and operational efficiency with this cutting-edge tool.

Subscribe now to stay updated and gain exclusive access to expert features!

Join our community today!