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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

29 June 2016

Saab Details GIRAFFE Family and Discloses Customers

Saab is offering up its GIRAFFE family of Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) and Maritime Air Defence systems to armed forces seeking a capability to counter emerging State Actor and Near Peer adversaries in the Contemporary Operating Environment (COE).

Speaking to MT ahead of the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow, due to take place between 11-15 July, Saab company officials explained how the COE was witnessing an uplift in such activities particularly in Areas of Interest (AOIs) in Asia Pacific and specifically the South China Sea where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to flex its muscles across disputed island chains and UNCLOS 200nm Exclusive Economic Zones.

Addressing this particular element in the COE, Saab’s Matt Smith, responsible for sales and marketing in the air domain, explained how the company was witnessing increased interest in Asia Pacific, particularly in operational areas close to Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei.

We are seeing new advanced threats in the areas of jamming and cyber and Saab is very much aware of the threat,” he explained to MT.

Referring to Saab’s family of GIRAFFE GBAD systems, Smith explained how the company was gearing up for delivery of the first tranche of systems in the Fourth Quarter 2016 as part of the first GIRAFFE 4A contract to an undisclosed customer.


Designed with multi-mission capabilities in mind, the GIRAFFE 4A comprises elements of the ARTHUR and GIRAFFE AMB product families with the introduction of a new radar payload based on  Active Electrically Scanned Array (AESA) technology.

According to Saab company documentation, the GIRAFFE 4A is capable of simultaneously support a variety of operations ranging from air surveillance (the ability to identify and track a high number of objects simultaneously makes the system suitable for air and sea surveillance as well as military air traffic control) and GBAD (identification and tracking of airborne targets to support multiple simultaneous engagements); through to weapon locating missions (tracking of ballistic munitions and calculation of origin and point of impact); and sense and warn missions to counter such weapons.

The GIRAFFE 4A has been designed for operations in “all climate zones” and Smith described to MT how the system had successfully completed Cold Weather and High Altitude trials in the Swiss Alps owing to conditions not being cold enough in Sweden across usual test sites.

“GIRAFFE 4A is specified for operation in extreme climates, ranging from inland, coastal and hot desert to Arctic environments,” Saab explained. “It is reliable and easy to operate with a redundant design such as the AESA concept making the time between critical failure extremely long at more than 2,500hours while typical repair time is less than 45 minutes.”

The GIRAFFE 4A is designed to provide ground commanders with optimal situation awareness through simultaneous air surveillance and GBAD target acquisition, with added benefit of weapon locating capability without degradation of other sensors.

If the situation dictates, the commanding officer can choose between search in the entire 360-degrees volume or an optimised search in a sector (40degrees–120-degrees).Both with coverage up to 70-degrees of elevation,” Saab continued.

The GIRAFFE 4A also took part in a Live Exercise (LIVEX) with the Swedish Air Force’s Air Defence Regiment in October 2015, conducted in Gotland, Smith explained before referring to the international market and potential interest from “several customers” which have already conducted trials and performance testing which “met or exceeded expected performance.

Saab disclosed potential customers as being Sweden, the UK, US and Switzerland. Saab is preparing to put forward its Best and Final Offer for the UK Ministry of Defence’s GBAD BMC4I competition in July, following the completion of maturity tests, Smith added. He also explained first deliveries of GIRAFFE's initial undisclosed contract would be made in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In May 2014, Saab extended its GIRAFFE family of products to include the 4A following operational requirements for air surveillance and air defence applications on land and at sea. Other options include the vehicle-mounted GIRAFFE 1X; GIRAFFE AMB; truck-mounted GIRAFFE 8A; suitable for asymmetric warfare.