Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brazil Buys Swedish RBS 70 VSHORAD Missile System

Sweden's SAAB has signed a $12 million contract for the delivery of the RBS 70 Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) missile system to Brazil starting this year. This makes Brazil the nineteenth country where the RBS 70 will enter service.

The purchase is another win for Sweden and comes after Brazil had previously selected Sweden's Gripen as its preferred choice for fighter aircraft over candidates from France and the United States, the Rafale and F/A-18 respectively. The RBS 70 in turn was selected over other candidates such as the Russian SA-18/24.

Besides the RBS 70 launchers and MK II type missiles, the contract includes simulators, night vision equipment, spare parts, test and maintenance equipment, training and other related support. The RBS 70 can come in several configurations such as mounted on various vehicles or dismounted on a tripod.

The MK II version features several improvements over previous versions which began entering service during the late seventies such as increased speed, longer range and a new shaped-charge warhead with a proximity fuse. A more updated and improved system is known as the RBS 70 NG.

The laser beam-riding missile employs a similar guidance method as that of the British Starstreak, but is different from other contemporary MANPADS such as the American Stinger, Russian SA-18/24 and Chinese FN-6, which all rely on a passive infrared seeker.

The former makes the missiles simpler to manufacture and therefore cheaper to purchase, but unlike the latter also leaves the launcher more susceptible to counter-attack as the laser can be more easily detected and traced back to its point of origin.

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