• 16th Air Land Regiment personnel launch a live Bolide missile from the RBS-70 at a target over Lake Hart.
    16th Air Land Regiment personnel launch a live Bolide missile from the RBS-70 at a target over Lake Hart. Defence

Army’s 16 Air Land Regiment was retitled 16 Regiment Royal Australian Artillery on 2 June, just one change among several that are now underway and set to transform the unit’s air defence capability.

These involve major upgrades of the Regiment’s three Saab Giraffe Agile Multi-beam 3D radars, and new trial software for the unit’s 31 SRCTec lightweight counter-mortar radars (LCMRs). This software upgrades the LCMRs into air surveillance radars with sufficient sensitivity to provide cueing against unmanned aerial systems and conventional aircraft.

Although Giraffe was procured specifically for the C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar) role supporting Australian troops at their Tarin Kot base in Afghanistan, the enhancements enable it to replace the Regiment’s ageing Lockheed Martin L-Band PSTAR-ER portable search and target acquisition radars – now withdrawn from service - while retaining its C-RAM capability.

“We’ve iteratively integrated Giraffe into our existing suite of capabilities which provides a significant enhancement, and it’s now compatible with our tactical command and control system (TACCS) that gives us our day and night cueing capability to our RBS-70 short-range air defence system and its Bolide missiles,” 16 Regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Mankowski, said.

“It’s also compatible with the latest modification of the Forward Area Air Defence Command and Control Software (FAADC2) which feeds into the Air and Missile Defence Workstation (AMDWS) and provides our sense and locate or C-RAM requirement.”

All three Giraffes are also being upgraded in Australia with Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) – the next-generation encrypted data link between interrogators and transponders to confirm an aircraft is friendly even if the IFF transponder is set to stand-by - and will be back in the regiment by October.

The LCMR were also acquired specifically for the C-RAM mission but have now also been integrated into TACCS.

16 Regiment is the future operator of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) and will take delivery of the first of two batteries in 2022. 

More information on air defence capability upgrades will be available in the July edition of ADM.

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