Saab's Deployable Maintenance Facility was on display at IDEB 2024

Saab's Deployable Maintenance Facility was on display at IDEB 2024
Autor fotografie: Saab, Public domain|Popisek: Deployable Maintenance Facility (DAM)
04 / 06 / 2024, 23:00

One hundred Slovak and foreign defence industry companies exhibited at the IDEB 2024 trade fair in Bratislava. In terms of the key areas whose importance is being monitored today and daily in the context of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Swedish company Saab presented an attractive display: the remarkable DAM mobile hangar system to support operations and logistic at Forward Operating Bases, MSHORAD systems, advanced anti-tank weapons, and also a training simulator.

DAM - Deployable Maintenance Facility

Everyone immediately associates Saab with the Gripen fighter aircraft, which, along with the US F-35, has played a major role in the stormy discussions about the future of the Czech supersonic air force over the past year. We know the result, the contract was signed with the United States; however, Gripen is not disappearing from the Czech skies and will not disappear for another decade. Officially, they are expected to be around until 2035. The Swedish Gripen is characterised by a number of features and advantages, and one of the important elements of the Swedish approach to defence is the ability to avoid first strikes from a potential adversary by spreading forces outside the main bases, to reserve and makeshift airfields. One of the systems developed to support such a doctrine is the Deployable Maintenance Facility (DAM), which can be translated as a deployable maintenance facility or more loosely as a mobile hangar solution.

The DAM provides increased maintenance capability combined with superior protection for any fighter jet and can be rapidly deployed when and where needed, enabling increased operational availability of forces by providing ground personnel with essentially the same support resources and maintenance capabilities that are normally available at a standard home base. The DAM provides protection against the weather while also providing protection against sophisticated enemy sensors. It can thus fundamentally increase the flexibility of asset deployment by reducing dependence on stationary infrastructure. In addition to aircraft of various types and designations, it can of course also provide support to ground equipment.

DAM

The system was presented to Security Magazine in a short interview at Saab's stand at IDEB 2024 by the company's Sales Director for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Petr Schleiss: "The mobile hangar solution is a system that is fully certified for NATO needs and is used by member states, especially in the Kingdom of Sweden, but also in Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary. The system has multispectral protection, which is a very sensitive issue nowadays. It is a mobile system, however, certified as a standard static building. The system is designed and certified for fighter aviation, so of course it is also usable by transport aviation or helicopters, for example. The newly introduced hangar modelsare designed for armoured vehicles or conventional tactical vehiclesas well as other valuable assets.We are ready to offer the system to the Czech Army as part of the negotiations, not only for the needs of the air force, but also for the needs of the ground forces."

MSHORAD: Polish Piorun vs Swedish RBS 70 NG

Air defence is inevitably in the spotlight today. Last autumn, Slovakia announced its interest in Israel's BARAK MX medium-range system from IAI, whose €128m (£3.2bn) bid for three launchers was judged the best ahead of Rafael's SPYDER (which the Czech Republic is acquiring), Germany's IRIS-T from Diehl Defence and VL MICA from France's MBDA. The aim is a modern replacement for the old Soviet S-300 medium-range system delivered to Ukraine and, like ours, the outdated 2K12 Kub. In parallel, in view of the expiring service life of the shoulder-fired Igla-1 anti-aircraft missiles, the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic (AFSR) are also looking for an adequate replacement in the field of short-range systems.

RBS 70 NG

Already after the elections, which took place at the end of September 2023, the outgoing government announced that after evaluating the offers it preferred the Polish Piorun system to the Swedish RBS 70 NG system, which attracted some attention. According to the published results, it was the Swedish system, which is also in use with the Czech Army, that received the best rating: 86.18%; Piorun received 75.36%. Although the weights of the individual parameters were predetermined, the decision fell on Piorun, whose Polish manufacturer (Mesko, a company belonging to the PGZ group) offered a total of 36 units for up to €65.8 million (CZK 1.6 billion), while the Swedish offer was for €39.5 million (CZK 977 million), but it was for 12 units. The Slovak ministry backed up this economic argument by claiming that the Piorun is lighter and more similar to the outdated Igloos - essentially completely contradicting the original results of the feasibility study. No final decision has been made; the new government may come to a different decision in the negotiations.

And apart from the argument that the RBS 70 NG is established in the Czech Republic, the interest in the MSHORAD mobile system may also play a role in it; and the possibility of using the same system is interesting for obvious reasons. And again, as in the Czech Republic, the Slovak army may be interested in an existing solution in the form of the MARS S-330 vehicle, which relies on the Swedish RBS 70 NG system from Saab, mounted on a 4x4 armoured vehicle platform from the Czech company SVOS. The Swedish MSHORAD solution in this version for fast and effective identification and countering of airborne threats combines the advanced and highly effective Giraffe 1X radar, the C2 command and control communication platform and the RBS 70 NG mobile firing unit, which can also be easily used as a portable missile system.

The advantage of the RBS 70 NG is that it cannot be jammed by countermeasures, mainly due to the fact that, with optical tracking, the operator on the ground can use manual control to change the target point at any time after the missile has been launched, supported by improved sighting aids and automatic target tracking. The price to pay for these advanced features and benefits is relatively higher weight, but this is not a hindrance when the system is installed on a mobile platform; when deployed as a portable MANPADS system, it is a matter of deployment tactics, support, and consideration of the effectiveness and capabilities the system provides. To date, a total of 19 countries have procured the system, including a number of NATO countries. More than 1,600 RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG, and more than 18,000 missiles have been delivered.

Technology for training and simulation - emphasis on interoperability and realism

For modern armed forces engaged in international stabilisation operations, interoperability and cooperation with other nations has become a key factor. More and more armies are considering them in the development of training doctrine and Training, Techniques and Procedures (TTP). Saab has decades of experience in this area and its systems are used by the Swedish armed forces in Poland, Belgium and Germany, where Saab is supporting the operation of the Bundeswehr's Gefechtsübungszentrum (GÜZ) combat training centre for 2020-2026 in the area of administration and maintenance. In addition to the German army, the GÜZ system is also regularly used by the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, the US 7th Army with its DISE (Deployable Instrumented System Europe) system and, more recently, the British Army.

A key parameter for the effectiveness of the training and simulation system is realism. Training systems must accurately replicate all the characteristics of the respective weapon systems. Simulated weapons and equipment must accurately replicate the characteristics, form and function of the live weapon system. Similarly, the performance of the weapon system, such as range, ballistics, and flight time, is extremely important. Apart from the acoustic feedback, there should be no difference between firing a simulation weapon and a real weapon.  The smooth transition between simulation and real weapons allows the user to develop skills and optimise performance in conjunction with the TTP principles of the respective armies.

Ukraine confirms the fundamental importance of anti-tank small arms

Anders Wahlström, one of Saab's infantry warfare expert, says: "There will always be a ground war. Although precision long-range operations with drones are already available and will continue to increase, troops are still needed to occupy and/or defend an area. With versatile weapon systems such as the Carl-Gustaf, NLAW and AT4 series, we provide a decisive advantage to militaries around the world. Modular systems ensure that Saab products will be effective and reliable in 2040 and beyond." All of the systems mentioned above were presented to visitors to IDEB 2024 at the Saab stand.

Carl Gustaf

The Carl-Gustaf is a one-man portable multi-purpose weapon system that provides soldiers in all environments with high tactical flexibility and effectiveness. The latest variant M4 offers increased speed and manoeuvrability. Compatibility with an advanced fire control system and 84mm programmable ammunition ensures soldiers can rely on their equipment. The system is already in the Czech Army's arsenal, in the M3 version with the 601st Special Forces Group.

The NLAW is a next generation light anti-tank weapon capable of eliminating even the most advanced tanks. It is best in class for units operating in all environments, including built-up areas. The NLAW fires perfectly in confined spaces and has the option of Overfly Top Attack (OTA) against armoured targets and Direct Attack (DA) against lightly armoured and unarmoured targets or units inside buildings.

The AT4 series is one of Saab's most historically successful anti-tank weapons; it is a lightweight and easily transportable effective single-use weapon, characterized by high effectiveness and ease of operation.

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