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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Saab for Giraffe 1X surveillance radars, the Swedish company announced on 2 May 2023.

The order is valued at around SEK 264 M (EUR 23.36 M) and covers 11 Giraffe 1X systems, deliveries of which have already begun.

The acquisition of Giraffe 1X systems is largely for operational environments, Saab noted, although a single unit has been procured for the Royal Navy (RN) that will be mounted and tested on the test platform XV Patrick Blackett. This vessel, an adapted 42 m-long FCS 4008 designed and built by Damen Group, is operated by the RN’s NavyX test division, which trials and experiments with new technologies and concepts.

Saab describes the Giraffe 1X as a lightweight, multi-mission, 3D surveillance radar for simultaneous air- and surface surveillance that provides commanders with quality air defence target data, counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) detection and a counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) sense-and-warn capability within a single solution.

The Giraffe 1X was chosen, Saab asserted, on the basis of it being the “fastest and most effective solution available, with a proven capability that enjoys a high degree of confidence amongst [C-UAS] experts. The systems include continuous software upgrades based on Saab’s longstanding knowledge of our customers’ needs and the operational threats their deployed forces face.”

The Giraffe 1X systems procured for the UK armed forces will provide air defence target data as well as C-UAS and C-RAM capabilities within a single solution. (Photo: Saab)

Work in relation to the contract is being carried out in Gothenburg, Sweden, but also in the UK.

“These orders are an excellent example of how our fast-deployed, software-defined systems continue to support our UK customer, and further strengthens our close partnership with the UK MoD,” Dean Rosenfield, President of Saab UK, was quoted as saying in a company press release.

The UK armed forces have used Saab radars since 2004 in the form of ARTHUR counter-battery radars, which the British Army calls the Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (MAMBA) system, and has the largest fleet of land-based Giraffe AMB radars, which have been in-service since 2010, according to Saab.

Peter Felstead