Wednesday, 08 June 2016 16:17
By Stelios Kanavakis and Xavier Vavasseur
The German Navy (Marine) has authorized on 3 June 2016 the use of the surface-to-surface Saab RBS-15 Mk3 missiles aboard the Braunschweig class (K-130) corvette. This type of missiles will give the Marine the capability to engage land targets from the sea.
German Navy Braunschweig class corvettes (K130)
The RBS-15 Mk3 was selected in 2004 through an international tender; with the other two contenders being Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile and Boeing’s Harpoon Block II missiles. However, following technical delays and two failed fire-tests in 2013, the missiles were successfully fire-tested in 2015.
The German Navy is the second one, after the Polish, to induct this weapon system. The RBS-15 Mk3 has a range over 200 km, with improvements over its previous version in its mission computer, digital autopilot, INS/GPS navigation system, allowing it to follow multiple waypoints flight paths, its capability to discriminate targets and conduct manoeuvres, and other sectors.
An RBS15 Mk3 is launched from German Navy Braunschweig class corvette “Magdeburg” during operational test in 2015. Picture: Diehl
Due to its high maneuverability, the long-range, all-weather capable, fire-and-forget RBS15 Mk3 missile can track targets in low-level flight directly above the water surface and fly around or over islands at distances up to and far beyond 200km. It is extremely resistant to electronic countermeasures and characterized by high robustness against air defence sites employing guided and tube weapons, for instance, by unexpected evasive maneuvers during terminal approach.
The German Navy Braunschweig class corvettes (K130) were designed and built by the Class 130 Consortium led by Blohm + Voss. Five built ships have the primary task of surface surveillance, reconnaissance, surface target engagement, humanitarian missions, countering asymmetric threats and operating mainly in the littorals.
SAAB RBS15 MK3 Anti Ship Missile
Developed as an upgrade of combat proven RBS15 Mk2 missile, the Mk3 was successfully test fired at an FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) test range in October 2008. The first missile was assembled outside Sweden in Germany in December that year.
The RBS15 Mk3 is a fire-and-forget, subsonic cruise type missile launched from ships and trucks. The missile can be used for anti-ship missions and land strikes.
Variations of RBS15 Mk3 missile
The RBS15 Mk3 is available in three versions – ship-launched, truck-launched and air-launched. The ship-launched variant can be installed on small and large sized warships such as fast patrol boats, frigates and corvettes. The missile is easily integrated with the combat management system and can be operated as stand-alone or fully integrated architecture.
The air-to-ship launched version is suitable for modern fighter aircraft. The rapidly deployed truck-launched missile battery provides coastal defence against hostile forces. The highly mobile launch platforms allow the launch of the missile from hidden positions located far away from the coast.
RBS15 Mk3 design and features
The forward part of the RBS15 Mk3 missile includes guidance and electronics section followed by warhead and fuel section. The rearward section consists of wings and turbojet engine and two parallel booster motors. The missile has cruciform wings that can be retracted during storage.
The missile has a length of 4.35m, fuselage diameter of 0.5m and a wing span of 1.4m. The launch and in-flight weights of the missile are 800kg and 650kg respectively. The RBS15 Mk3 can strike targets within the range of 200km, while travelling at a subsonic speed of 0.9Mach.
RBS15 Mk3 guidance system
The RBS15 guidance and control system includes an inertial navigation system and a GPS receiver, a radar altimeter and a Ku-band radar target seeker. The RBS15 missiles are resistant of enemy countermeasures. Two or more missiles can be programmed to hit the target simultaneously from various directions to better penetrate the air defences of warships.
The missile features low radar cross section and IR signature. It has sophisticated target discrimination and selection capabilities. It is extremely resistant to chaff, active jammers, decoys and other electronic countermeasures (ECM).
The RBS15 Mk3 is a low sea-skimming missile performing unpredictable evasive manoeuvres. The missile increases its thrust in the terminal phase to defeat missiles, guns and close-in weapon systems (CIWS). The missile engagement planning system (MEPS) provides advanced user interface for generating plans for different scenarios.
Warhead and propulsion of RBS15 Mk3 SSM
The missile can be equipped with an optimised heavy HE blast-fragmentation warhead. The highly efficient warhead can penetrate into the hull of any modern vessel.
The ship and truck-launched RBS15 Mk3 variants are launched by two booster motors. The missile is powered by TR 60-5 variable-thrust turbo-jet engine developed by Microturbo (a Safran Group company and subsidiary of Turbomeca). The TR60-5 engine incorporating a 3-stage-axial compressor delivers a thrust of 350 to 440daN.
|Manufacturer||Saab Bofors Dynamics,Diehl BGT Defence|
|Warhead||200 kg HE blast and pre-fragmented warhead.|
|impact or proximity|
|250 km for RBS-15 Mk. III|
|Flight altitude||sea skimming|
|inertial, GPS, terminalactive radar homing (J band)|
|naval ships, aircraft and land-based missile launchers|