Rheinmetall’s mobile Skyranger 30 air defence system has reached a key milestone on the road to series production. In December 2023, the A1 configuration of the Skyranger 30 underwent a successful testing and live-fire campaign at the Group’s Ochsenboden proving ground in Switzerland, in which the system had to prove itself in stationary and mobile modes.

The Skyranger 30 A1 is a development testbed whose purpose is to pave the way for total system qualification of the Skyranger 30 A3 in mid-2024. The A1’s flexible design enables efficient testing and optimization of multiple customer variants with different radars and effectors. The compact design of the turret allows integration into a wide variety of manned and unmanned platforms. The system weighs up to 2.5 tons and is currently being developed for at least three platforms.

As recently as December 2023, Hungary contracted with Rheinmetall to develop a concept for a Skyranger 30 turret for the future air defence variant of the tracked Lynx KF41 tracked armoured vehicle. Two other user NATO nations, Denmark and Germany, also plan to procure the Skyranger 30, which in both cases will be mounted on different wheeled armoured vehicles. The German Army plans to purchase about 20 Systems on GTK Boxer vehicles. The Danish MOD has selected the Skyranger 30 to be mounted on 15 Danish Mowag Piranha V wheeled APC. The system will mount the gun and yet unspecified VSHORAD missile systems.

The central component of the Skyranger 30 is the 30mmx173 KCE revolver cannon, whose immense firepower and precision have been impressively demonstrated under the most adverse weather conditions. The cannon is equipped with a programmable fuse setter designed to support AHEAD scatterable ammunition, optimized for anti-aircraft and anti-drone missions. The effective range of the cannon is 3000 meters, complemented by the VSHORAD missile’s range of 5-8 km, depending on the type, terrain and engagement profile. Additional effectors under consideration, include electronic attack (EA), data link signal interceptors and RF-jammers to neutralize reconnaissance or remotely guided UAVs. Rough UAVs, (‘black’ or ‘quiet’ platforms that are not vulnerable to external countermeasures) will be engaged by the gun or missiles.

As a modern VSHORAD gun/missile system, Skyranger closes a critical capability gap in mobile air defence. The Skyranger 30 A3 will decisively counter current and future aerial threats – including drones – enabling ground troops to focus on their actual mission.