FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM, BY: Craig Hoyle, 31 March 2017
Sweden will equip its future fleet of Gripen E fighters with an extended-range version of the Saab/Diehl Defence-produced RBS15 anti-ship missile, under a project worth SKr3.2 billion ($358 million).
Announced on 31 March, the deal will deliver weapons with “greatly improved capabilities to engage any target, in all [weather] conditions”, says Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe. Equipped with an upgraded seeker, the RBS15F ER will have a reduced launch weight and increased range compared with earlier versions of the maritime- and land-attack missile.
The extended-range design will be among a variety of weapon types to be carried by the Gripen E, which is scheduled for delivery to the Swedish air force from 2019. Others include MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile, which entered service with its MS20 operating standard Gripen Cs last year, and Diehl Defence’s short-range IRIS-T.
Saab lists the 4.35m (14.3ft)-long, sea-skimming RBS15F ER as weighing around 600kg (1,320lb), including a 200kg warhead. It cites an operational range of more than 108nm (200km). Sweden’s FMV defence materiel administration says the enhanced weapon – which will also be produced in a ship-launched version – will be operational from the mid-2020s. Its contract also includes in-service support services for the nation’s current inventory of RBS15s.