During a recently held press conference, Rheinmetall Defence unveiled Germany’s next Air Defence System, the so-called System Flugabwehr, or SysFla, intended to meet the future air defence needs of the Bundeswehr.
The German Armed Forces currently use the Gepard Tracked Anti-Aircraft systems with a 35mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, as well as the Ozelot LeFlaSys light and mobile short-range air defence system. Based on a Wiesel 2 Armoured Weapons Carrier and fitted with an air defence missile launcher (later retrofitted with box-type launchers), LeFlaSys is capable of detecting aerial targets up to 20 km away and successfully engaging them at ranges of up to 6,000 m.
As a substitute for the current Air Defence systems as the aging Gepard, the LÜR radars, the HFlaAFüSys Command and Control system as well as to look towards the Ozelot, which has only been in service since 2001, the German Armed Forces asked German industries to submit an offer for a complete advanced near and mid-range air-defence system with an approximate value of about €1 billion ($1,27 billion). This has led to a joint venture between Rheinmetall AG, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and LFK Lenkflugkoerpersysteme (now MBDA), and to the creation of a new company called Sysfla GmbH.
Since early 2008 the company worked on a design for a German air-defence system consisting of three steps. However, the concept design of the first two phases has broken with a German tradition of only deploying mobile Air Defence systems.
SysFla “Block I” will be fixed and consists of the Rheinmetall built NBS 35 mm rapid-fire multirole cannon, which is also used for the German camp protection system C-RAM. The gun is the main defence system for very near targets while LFK NG "Lenkflugkörper Neue Generation" (New Generation Guided Missile) will be the first choice for mid-range defence.
The missile is currently under development by MBDA along with Diehl BGT Defence and features a highly sensitive infrared seeker which is capable of identifying targets with an extremely low infrared signature, such as other missiles or UAVs as well as aircraft and helicopters. The missile will also be fitted with a penetrator warhead to engage armored targets. In the SysFla Block I the missile will be vertically launched and used for interception within a maximum range of 10 km and effective to a height of 5 km.
The missile is capable of intercepting targets within visual range and beyond (NLOS “None-line-of-sight” capability).
SysFla will also receive the FIRST (Fast Infrared Search and Track Reconnaissance Sensor) passive sensor for 360° surveillance. FIRST is jointly developed by Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE) and Diehl BGT Defence and features high sensitivity detection and precise target tracking.
The heart of the system, however, is an evolution of the German digital fire-control computer platform called HFlaFüSys, offering C3I capabilities in real-time as well as weapons control.
HFlaFüSys II will be upgraded from its predecessor and fitted with additional tactical data interfaces and software to allow the system to use the FIRST sensor as well as the LFK NG missile.
Johannes Höggemeier, Vice-president, Sales, Air Defence at Rheinmetall told defpro.com that further developments are planned for the FIRST system, increasing the coverage from 18 degrees to 54 degrees in elevation.
In the second phase, the still-fixed SysFla Block II will also implement active sensors with 100 km (62 miles) coverage as well as a new maneuverable launcher for the missiles and a new sensor platform.
In Block III and later, KMW will enter the project stage and design with their partner, a mobile version of the entire system. This system may be based on the Boxer MRAV (Wheeled Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle) at least for the canon and will be airlift-capable.
However, Höggemeier admits that it is still a long way to this mobilised version since it will need to redesign smaller elements of the system and combine them to fit on vehicles.
First, the development of Block I has to be contracted, Höggemeier said, adding that this will probably occur around 2010.
Source: Defense Professionals