Saab Upgrades the RBS-70 Air Defense Missile–Again

 - September 26, 2011, 4:40 AM
An RBS 70 missile leaves its canister en route to a target during a recent live-fire demonstration in Sweden. (Photo: Saab)

Saab is marketing a “new generation” version of the RBS 70 short-range surface-to-air missile, which has been in continuous production for nearly 40 years.

A new, compact high-resolution thermal imaging sight replaces the previous clip-on night sight, thus allowing true round-the-clock operation. There is also a new transmitter for the missile’s laser-beam guidance, which remains “unjammable,” according to Saab. An auto-tracking function has also been added, which should help the operator increase the probability of kill.

The last of four previous upgrades came in 2003, when seven improvements were made, including the Bolide missile round that increased the intercept range from three to five miles. The system can hit targets flying as high as 16,500 feet, and has the unique ability to engage them head-on at maximum range, the company claims.

Like previous versions, the RBS70 NG can be fired by dismounted soldiers, or from vehicles or ships. It can also be controlled remotely.

In a recent live firing demonstration to 17 potential customers in Sweden, the Bolide’s fragmentation warhead penetrated a 200-mm armored steel target. Cruise missiles, armored helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, including UAVs, are the other potential targets. The system is also effective against armored ground targets.

Eighteen countries have procured more than 1,600 RBS 70 systems, including more than 17,000 missiles.