Events don’t get much bigger than the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Being staged in Brazil earlier this year, the Games attracted around 500,000 visitors to Rio de Janeiro and it was watched by a global television audience of some four billion people.
While the Olympic Games, Paralympics and other mega events like the 2016 UEFA European Championship in Paris, France, have enormous potential to bring humanity together, they also present a significant challenge for host nations who are charged with ensuring the safety of participants and spectators. Maintaining a high level of air security is particularly challenging, due to the dense urban environments where such events are staged and the large numbers of air traffic movements the events generate. In recent years, the increased availability of unmanned aerial vehicles has further complicated the situation, substantially increasing the potential for serious airborne threats.
Saab’s new-generation RBS 70 ground-based air defence missile system provides mega-event host nations with an invaluable tool for enhancing air safety and protecting human life. It features an integrated sighting system, unbeatable range, and an unjammable laser guidance system.
Optimised for use in busy airspace
Emil Holm, Director of Technical Sales Support at Saab Business Unit Missile Systems, says the system optimises the chances of neutralising threats in busy airspace, while greatly increasing the safety of those attending events. “The RBS 70 system, including the new RBS 70 NG, offers missile self-destruct command and hit-point selection,” he says. “With attached Identification-Friend-or-Foe capabilities and optical tracking of the target until intercept, the operator of the RBS 70 system is in command of what the missile hits or doesn’t hit, decreasing the risk of friendly fire and increase the probability to destroy the target.”
A key feature of the system is its video-analysis-based tracking function. “This increases the system’s already high level of precision, reducing the workload and pressure on the operator,” says Holm. “The operator is still in charge and can whenever he/she wants override the tracker and correct the aiming point, switch target, or go fully manual and do the fine aiming with the thumb joystick. This increases ease-of-use and precision, but, importantly, keeps a human being in the loop.”
Nine-kilometre intercept range
Holm says several other features add to the efficiency of the system, including coverage ranging from high altitude to ground level. “The range of intercept of the RBS 70 is more than nine kilometres, which means in some cases the operator can open fire when the target is as far as 15 kilometres away,” he says. “The guidance system means the RBS 70 system is not affected by background clutter such as hot rooftops, fires, and other hotspots.”
In addition to major events, the RBS 70 system is well suited for use in defending high-value military and civilian sites as well as strategic infrastructure facilities such as power stations and communication centres.
Mobile protection in combat
The system is extremely valuable in combat situations where its operation can be further enhanced by coupling it to a vehicle, allowing for enhanced mobility and operator protection. “This can be of advantage when tasked with protect a mobile unit such as an armoured battalion,” says Holm. “It’s also important when operating in a hostile environment where ballistic protection is needed.”