A solution is currently being developed under an emergency programme for the German Army’s qualified anti-aircraft defence, which is to be available for use by the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2023 at the latest. The focus is particularly on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which is why the defence system is also known as Counter UAS (c-UAS).
Spexter consists of a GTK BOXER, whose mission module incorporates a remote-controlled Kongsberg Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS) while the effector is a 40 mm grenade launcher with airburst ammunition. Airburst ammunition is programmed to detonate in defined proximity to the target and destroy the target with a dense bundle of projectiles, a form of combat particularly successful against soft targets such as UAVs.
The most important reconnaissance element will be the Spexer 2000 3D MkIII radar from Hensoldt, derived from the third generation of ground detection radars, which can detect air targets such as helicopters and aircraft in addition to land and sea targets. The Active Electronically Scanned Antenna (AESA) radar scans a sector of 120° with a fixed antenna. With up to 16 independent radar beams, small and fast-moving targets such as UAVs can be detected, with an update rate is 0.3 seconds and a range 2.5 km. With only one radar beam, the detection range increases to 40 km, but at a reduced sampling rate. With its scan-on-the-move capability, Spexer can also perform reconnaissance in motion, making the system suitable for protecting convoys.
Its compact antenna weighs 35 kg and measures 60x50x20 cm (WxHxD) and operates in the frequency range 9.2 to 10 GHz (X-band). The signals are generated and processed in the Generation and Processing Unit (GPU) which weighs 40 kg and is of the similar size as the antenna. In a test shooting with the complete system, Spexer was able to demonstrate a high classification performance of small targets in very demanding scenarios. The characteristics of micro targets such as UAVs are low radar cross section and high maneuverability.
After evaluation of the test firing, Hensoldt was commissioned to supply ten Spexer 2000 3D MkIII with the units to be delivered from the end of this year. The ten BOXERs for Qualified Anti-Aircraft Defence should be available by the end of 2021 at the latest so training can begin meaning vehicles and crews are prepared in time for VJTF 2023.