Mobile air defense and combat surgery: Rheinmetall wins contracts in Europe

Rheinmetall announced a series of contracts to supply air defense and mobile modular medical systems to European customers in the days leading up to March 1, 2024.

For the German Armed Forces, Rheinmetall will provide a fifth order of the total Modular Medical Facilities (MSE) system with an order value in the mid-single-digit million euro range, announced on March 1, 2024, and 30 Boxer Skyranger 30 air – defense systems, worth 595 million euros ($643 million), announced on February 27, 2024.

Also announced on March 1, Rheinmetall will supply Skybox air defense to an unnamed European customer, scheduled for delivery in 2025, with an order value in the low three-digit million euro range.

The MSE is a series of containers that carry a mobile military treatment unit and combat support hospital for use in operational areas. The new order includes X-ray containers that are being replaced or regenerated to meet the current state-of-the-art technology, with new containers housing the Siemens scanner and diagnostic station, enabling X-ray and x-ray scanning of the entire human body, including internal organs, in lying, sitting or standing position. This follows the award to Rheinmetall in January 2023 of a contract for regeneration of modular medical equipment of the German Armed Forces which was to be completed by December 2023.

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From GlobalData

The Boxer-based Skyranger 30 air defense systems contract includes the delivery of a prototype system and 18 series production vehicles, with the prototype expected to be delivered in late 2024. It also includes an option for another 30 air defense systems. The Skyranger will be a key component of the NNbS short and very short range air defense system, which is part of the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).

Germany is the lead nation in land-based air defense in Europe for NATO, and the recruitment of the Skyranger 30 bridges a capability gap in Germany’s mobile air defense. It combines an armament of a 30mm x 173 KCE revolver gun and Stinger surface-to-air missiles with an array of sensors, all in the same turret, mounted on an 8×8 boxer armored fighting vehicle platform.

The contract for the cannon-based Skynex automatic air defense system, to be sold to an unnamed European customer, will also include linked Rheinmetall HX trucks. The Skynex concept separates the airspace surveillance and air defense operators, with modularity that allows the necessary resources to be connected to the command and control network, as well as the integration of a wider range of potential operators, such as Skyshield and Skyguard, provided that they operators have their own tracking systems.

The primary armament of the Skynex system is an automatic cannon, suitable for air defense in very short-range environments where guided missile defense is not effective. The autocannon uses 35mm Ahead programmable ammunition, at a cost lower than comparable rocket-based solutions.

While the 35mm Ahead ammunition is programmed by a muzzle-based electromagnetic inductor, setting an electronic timer for air bursts near a target, the mechanism is robust against electronic jamming countermeasures. Rhienmetall highlights the success of the Gepard anti-aircraft system in Ukrainewhich also uses an automatic cannon for air defense purposes, as an example of the success of such systems against aerial targets, including drones and cruise missiles.

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