On 16 December 2022, Rheinmetall announced that the company, in conjunction with the Austrian Armed Forces had successfully tested their leased Mobile Counter-small Unmanned Aerial System (C-sUAS) system in a realistic exercise. The system had been delivered in May 2022 for a six-month evaluation period by the Austrian Armed Forces, and is presently being examined alongside other systems as part of Austria’s Countering Emerging Air Threats (C-EAT) project. Following this successful round of tests, the Austrian Armed Forces have now extended their lease on the system by seven months.
The aim of the exercise was to test the Rheinmetall C-sUAS system in conditions as close as possible to those on the battlefield. As such, the tests included realistic attack flights by small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and used a large range of UAV models, from commercially available UAVs, to models using jet propulsion, and improvised drones controlled via the LTE mobile radio standard.
The Austrian forces participating in the exercise tried to detect and identify these drones as early as possible using a broad sensor mix. Hostile UAVs were then engaged using the jammers on the Rheinmetall C-sUAS system. The company stated that a noteworthy capability demonstrated during the exercise was the introduction of the target cueing via tablet from the higher-level command and control (C2) system, which enabled command staff to select targets for the jammer operator to engage.
The Rheinmetall Mobile C-sUAS system used by Austria comprises two shelter units – the sensor unit and the C2 Unit – both of which can be mounted on various trucks and trailers. The sensor unit is equipped with an elevating sensor mast which can be equipped with various sensors, including X-band and S-band radars, a direction-finder, an Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver, an optronic panoramic sight for target identification and tracking, and others if required. The C2 unit is an operator workstation based on the Oerlikon Skymaster C2 system. Skymaster provides sensor data fusion, target cueing, control of various effectors, as well as communications with higher echelons.