Tuesday 24 April 2018

Army signs €4.4m deal with Saab to upgrade missiles

Gunner Linda Kinsella training on the RBS 70 simulator at the Curragh some years ago
Gunner Linda Kinsella training on the RBS 70 simulator at the Curragh some years ago
Soldiers lay down covering fire during an aerial extraction exercise in which 129 Defence Forces soldiers from the 44 Infantry Group entered the final phase of intense training in preparation for their forthcoming deployment to the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

THE Army has signed a deal with defence company Saab for a €4.4m upgrade to the country's anti-aircraft missile system.

The surface-to-air missiles are deployed during high-profile State visits – including historic visits by Britain's Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama in 2011 – but have never been fired in the country.

The Defence Forces first acquired the RBS 70s in the 1980s and they have been upgraded several times.

Defence and security company Saab – which manufactured the missiles – has signed a contract to upgrade Ireland's arsenal of RBS 70s.

The deal includes deliveries of improved firing units, new simulators, night-vision equipment and associated weapons support.

"This order is very important because it demonstrates the reliability of the RBS 70 system," said Rickard Svensson, of Swedish-based Saab.

"It is a modern and reliable system which also has a long lifespan. For the customers it is a great advantage that the system can be upgraded for future use."

The portable weapons are manned by the Army's ground-based artillery regiment to give extra protection and low-level air defence to visiting dignitaries flying into the country.

They have also been deployed – and fired – during overseas training when a radar would queue the missile on a target before being fired.

Saab said Ireland requested updates to its RBS 70 systems. Works will include new operator training simulators, upgraded fire units to support the BORC night-capable sight and the latest Bolide missile, new external power supplies plus a four-year support agreement.

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