To What Extent will the RBS 70 NG Replace the STRELA-10 Systems

 22. 06. 2020      category: Army of the Czech Republic

The recent farewell of the S-10M2D air defence missile systems marked the end of one long chapter featuring these weapons, which our army has been using for decades. Although the technology mostly reflecting its time can still hit its targets flawlessly today, the army is gradually getting rid of Eastern (Soviet) technology and the STRELA-10 systems are no exception. Members of the 25th Air Defence Missile Regiment have replaced the discharged S-10M2D systems by the close-range air defence missile system RBS 70 NG (New Generation). Let's compare the basic parameters of these two systems.

foto1_836Picture: The recent farewell of the S-10M2D air defence missile systems marked the end of one long chapter featuring these weapons, which our army has been using for decades. | army.cz

The S-10M2D missile system comprises of a MT-LB lightweight belt conveyor, which is what gives the whole system very good driving characteristics in the field. The system's combat vehicles have gradually undergone modernization, which consisted of the installation of a new facility called "command workplace (PVK-10M)". PVK-10M ensures the reception and processing of data files and information about the air situation. With its help, it is possible to achieve the rotation of the turret with the launcher towards the selected target according to the data sent from the command post or directly from the radar. The PVK-10M software ensures, among other things, the control of individual equipment of the combat vehicle and, last but not least, the operation of the 9F75 control device, which is no longer necessary to connect to the vehicle in a complicated and inconvenient way during combat shooting. To ensure reliable identification of air targets, the original NRZ system of a KREMNYJ-2 type was replaced by the MARK XII system in the combat vehicles. This made it possible to distinguish between friendly/enemy air assets and to engage in Allied systems. The above list shows that, although the system originally dates to the 1970s, its continuous modernization significantly extended the life of these machines.

Video: Video: 360° video recording directly from the body of the S-10M2D system in action (to rotate the camera in the desired direction, use the arrows in the upper left corner of the screen or press and hold the left mouse button and then move the mouse in the desired direction. Use the "+" and "-" keys to zoom in/out) | YouTube 

And what is the firing range of the system like? The system uses 9M37 air defence missiles with an infra-red guidance system and a solid propellant engine, which reach a maximum speed of Mach 2 and are able to hit a target flying at up to Mach 1.25. The missile is equipped with a highly explosive warhead weighing 6 kg with a fragmented core. The firing range is 5000 m, altitude range is 3500 m. The system can manage to carry four missiles at once, which can be aimed at different targets. The three-member crew is able to operate with a range of 500 km, at a speed of over 60 km/h, including wading, or floating at a speed of 6 km/h.

The RBS 70 NG (New Generation) system, which in its new configuration is the notional successor to Strela, has a number of advantages over the older version of RBS 70 (which is a possible successor to Strela-2 systems). The RBS 70 NG system is smaller, lighter and more compact. The preparation for tactical use takes less time, only about half a minute. The RBS 70 NG also includes a built-in thermal imaging module for night operation and difficult lighting conditions ‒ use at night does not require any additional devices as it did with the RBS 70. RBS 70 NG uses laser-guided missiles Mk1, Mk2 and Bolide. The Mk1 and Mk2 missiles have a firing range of 5-6 km, an altitude range of 3-4 km and reach an average speed of 1.6 Mach. Newer Bolide missiles, which are based on the Mk2, have a range of up to 9 km and an altitude range of 5 km. The maximum speed of the missile is 2 Mach. The Bolide missiles also have a new fragmenting warhead, thanks to which it can hit more types of targets, such as cruise missiles. The system is highly mobile, transported on Tatra vehicles. Three people are required to operate it, as is the case with Strela. The ACR counts on a total of 16 pieces of RNS 70 and 16 pieces of RBS 70 NG.

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Foto: "Air defence missile systems S-10M2D will be gradually phased out of the Czech Army armament. As a replacement, we will receive air defence missile systems RBS-70 NG (pictured), and we will take over the first part of the delivery already at the end of this year," said Deputy Commander of the Strakonice Department Colonel Jaroslav Daverný. | Capt. Jana Samcová, army.cz

The transport of systems has its advantages and disadvantages. The drawback lies in the unprotected crew, the vehicle is covered only by a tilt or more precisely a camouflage net. What is also a certain disadvantage is the need to use paved surfaces for efficient movement. The system is practically unable to cope with a difficult terrain.  The tracks of the phased out S-10M2D systems were an undeniable advantage. Another disadvantage is the impossibility of shooting at targets directly from the cargo area of the vehicle. The system must first be removed from the vehicle and disassembled, all necessary steps must taken and then the system must be reassembled and put back. The ability to navigate, as was the case with the S-10M2D system, is also completely eliminated.

On the contrary, what is a perk is the rapid transfer, unification of Tatra vehicles and further expected development of systems, in which progress in the length of the operational scope of the system can be expected. However, the extended operational scope will be at the cost of many times more expensive missiles than the Strela-S10 system had.

In any case, it is certainly a step forward so our soldiers use modern means, and in a sense, the discarded Strela system can really be replaced by the RBS 70 NG system. As part of the further replacement of air defence missile systems, let's keep in mind the air defence missile system KUB, or more precisely 2K12M KUB M (SA-6 GAINFUL), which is currently difficult to keep running and deserves adequate replacement as soon as possible.

 Author: Karel Podskalský