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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

03 October 2016

AUSA 2016: Saab Details US Market Developments

At AUSA 2016, Saab is showcasing its capabilities and solutions to the US Army and international customers.

Introducing its next generation of signature management solutions, the company is building upon its advanced camouflage systems to bring true stealth capabilities to the US Army’s ground troops and armored vehicles. Saab is conducting significant research and development to build true stealth capabilities into its products that will conceal military assets and help mounted and dismounted warfighters stay safe and hidden in any environment. These capabilities include new ways of detecting incoming laser threats as well as friend-or-foe identification for vehicles.

Saab already leads the industry in signature management capabilities and production,” Brian Keller, head of Saab Defense and Security USA’s signature management unit, Barracuda, told MT. “Now, we are heavily invested making our already-world-class products even more advanced through added capabilities to meet the U.S. Army’s future needs.”

Saab furthermore has launched its land-based Giraffe 1X radar in the United States market. The new, compact radar system, which offers advanced capabilities against small targets and the capacity to address multiple threat types, will address the emerging requirements of the maneuver force. Saab also plans to transfer Giraffe 1X intellectual property to Saab Defense and Security USA, its US-based subsidiary, with the intention of meeting U.S. market needs efficiently, effectively and securely.

We have already shown a unique ability to deliver our products into sensitive programmes, such as the AN/SPS-77 on the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Program,” Erik Smith, head of Saab Defense and Security USA, said at AUSA. “But this move goes one step further. Transferring the intellectual property to a U.S. company and creating a U.S based development track for this system, will tremendously benefit the U.S. warfighter and taxpayer respectively by accelerating capability to the field and reducing costs and risk.”

The decision to transfer the technology was made to address US security and information assurance requirements, facilitate U.S. sourcing of components, and, in the long term, create more US jobs. Saab has invested significant private research and development funding into Giraffe 1X, which offers short-range air defence, sense-and-warn capabilities, and counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) and counter-RAM (rocket, artillery and mortar) functions. According to Smith, the Giraffe 1X addresses a growing need among U.S. ground troops.

Opposition capabilities are increasing, which means US ground troops need a reliable, accurate system that can detect, track and classify multiple threat types,” explained Smith. “Giraffe 1X meets that requirement.”

The Giraffe 1X is mountable on vehicles, vessels and fixed installations, such as a building or a mast. Its compact, mobile design leverages commercial components in an open-architecture solution built on Saab’s Giraffe family of radars. This product group includes the Giraffe AMB, which has been used in Iraq to protect US personnel against RAM threats since 2008.

Saab has also been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to perform research for the latter’s Massive Overmatch Assault Round (MOAR) study. The research, to be conducted by Saab’s business area Dynamics, will focus on the development of a precision-engagement capability for shoulder-fired weapons. Saab will analyse possible concepts and propose solutions, or highlight areas where future investigations are needed.

This research is crucial to improving the power of small military units,” Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics, informed MT. “Today’s short-range weapons lack active guidance, while long-range weapons are extremely expensive, physically burdensome, and often require teams of operators that smaller units do not have. Saab is investigating a possible solution: a precision-guided munition for shoulder-fired weapons that provides a long-range, high-precision, multi-target capability.”

Saab will conduct studies on its own Carl-Gustaf and AT4 shoulder-fired weapons, both of which are current US Army Programs of Record in service with the US Army.

Analysing already-established platforms allows the research to remain focused on the munition itself,” said Johansson. “Rather than developing a completely new solution, we are seeking to apply improved capabilities to existing systems – and that would translate to lower costs and faster availability.”

Since the 2014 launch of Saab’s Carl-Gustaf M4 version, the company has already been investing its own R&D money into new “smart” munitions to leverage the new system’s advanced capabilities.

The MOAR study is part of DARPA’s Office-Wide Broad Agency Announcement entitled “Innovative Systems for Military Missions.”