Czech Army buys RBS-70 Mk-3 Bolide ammunition

 19. 11. 2023      category: Army of the Czech Republic
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By 21 November, a contract for the purchase of 135 RBS-70 Mk-3 Bolide anti-aircraft cruise missiles (SAMs) intended for the RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG anti-aircraft complexes, which the 25th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment has at its disposal, should be concluded. The purchase of the above-mentioned ammunition from the Swedish manufacturer Saab Dynamics AB should be mediated through the NSPA (NATO Support and Procurement Agency) and the total price should be CZK 762,100,340 excluding VAT.

Foto: Střelby z přenosného protiletadlového raketového systému RBS 70 NG | Jan Juřica / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: RBS 70 NG portable anti-aircraft missile system | Jan Juřica / CZ DEFENCE

This public contract is awarded through the international organisation NSPA, which the Czech Republic has joined on the basis of an international treaty. NSPA is a special NATO agency providing support to its customers in the acquisition of military equipment and services, providing support to integrated multinational capabilities including full life cycle management, and providing operational and logistic support. The advantage of procuring the ammunition in question through the NSPA Ammunition Partnership, of which the Czech Republic is a member, is, among other things, the fast way of ordering through a web-based procurement portal. This method ensures fast order processing, high availability and, above all, a fixed price (the same for all Member States), which is set by framework agreements between the NSPA and its suppliers.

The procurement of these ammunition should ensure the readiness and combat capability of the Czech Army's air defence for possible deployment, by replenishing the ammunition stocks to the required level of 30 SDOS (ammunition requirement for 30 days of combat deployment).

The contract should be concluded by 21 November and the delivery of the aforementioned air defence systems is then planned within 38 months from the conclusion of the NSPA contract with the manufacturer (Saab Dynamics AB), i.e. in 2027.

The army has procured the ammunition before, between 2014 and 2022, when a total of 231 units of the same missiles were procured through the NSPA for a total value of CZK 825 million excluding VAT.

RBS-70 Mk3 Bolide

Mk3 Bolide is designed for the RBS 70 / RBS 70 NG portable anti-aircraft missile system, this missile has been developed from the RBS-70 Mk2 and incorporates a number of new systems, including an optical gyroscope, a new adjustable non-contact fuze with improved target detection and a new rocket motor with increased power. In particular, the new engine allows the missile to reach the target faster and with greater manoeuvrability compared to the previous RBS-70 Mk1 and RBS-70 Mk2 missiles.

The electronic block providing the missile's own flight control has also undergone a major change. This is programmable, allowing easy upgrading by simply changing the controller software. The missile is usable not only against flying but also ground targets. In case the laser beam guidance is lost during flight for various reasons, the missile is equipped with a self-destruct system to ensure its destruction in the air.

Portable anti-aircraft missile system RBS 70 / RBS 70 NG

The RBS 70 or RBS 70 NG handheld anti-aircraft missile system falls into the category of short-range anti-aircraft missile sets (SHORAD) with a range of 5 to 10 km. The RBS 70 / RBS 70 NG is designed to destroy helicopters in flight, cruise missiles, lightly armoured ground targets, low-flying targets, especially on approach but also on departure. Targets are shot on the basis of direct line of sight or radar detection. The kit can be used day or night and under any interference conditions.

The RBS 70 NG anti-aircraft missile complexes have a number of advantages over the previous generation RBS 70. The biggest advantage is the ability to fire at targets in automatic mode. The operator has the option to lock the target before firing. The actual guidance of the missile to the target is therefore carried out by a computer. The guidance is thus more accurate and faster than when it is done manually by the operator. However, the RBS 70 NG sets still allow manual guidance of the missile to the target in addition to the automatic mode if required.

 Author: Martin Šiška

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