Australian Army air defence makes the grade

Saab Australia has achieved a major milestone in receiving US certification for the update to the Australian Army’s short range air-defence system to the latest Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Mode 5 standard.

With this certification, the army’s RBS 70 missile system can be safely deployed on operations with US and coalition forces.This is an important milestone as this is the first certification work actually undertaken in Australia and the first Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) certification outside of the USA.

The Mode 5 upgrade provides a more secure way of identifying Australian, US and coalition combat units to avoid the chance of blue-on-blue fratricide incidents.

“IFF Mode 5 ensures Australian ground-based air defence crews can participate in allied missions operating in shared airspaces confidently. Mode 5 is critical for knowing who is a friend and who isn’t in complex operational environments, “ says Trevor Bate, project manager, Saab Australia.

The three key components of the Australian Army’s SHORAD system supplied by Saab are being upgraded. This includes the RBS 70 missile launcher, Giraffe AMB radar, and the Tactical Command and Control System (TaCCS). TaCCS was developed in Australia by Saab to analyse tracks from the Radar, allocate threats to one or more RBS 70s and provide queueing of the RBS 70 to the track.

The Giraffe AMB radar provides powerful 3D surveillance and C3 functionality with early warning against multiple air threats—including incoming rocket, artillery and mortar rounds—to give combat teams’ better protection.

The certification activities involved co-operation between the Air 90 Project Office, Combat Systems SPO, Saab Australia Pty Ltd, and Saab Dynamics AB.