Second batch of Rheinmetall Skyshield air defense systems for Indonesia

On 8 November, Rheinmetall announced that Indonesia would receive its second Skyshield short-range air-defense system late in 2019, an announcement confirmed at the IndoDefence 2018 exhibition that took place in Jakarta from 7 to 10 November. The order is part of a contract originally signed by Indonesia in mid-2017, but which could be implemented only recently because of funding constraints.

Second batch of Rheinmetall Skyshield air defense systems for Indonesia
Firing unit of a Rheinmetall Skyshield short-range air defense system displayed at IDEX 2017 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The ground-based Skyshield system was developed by Rheinmetall based on work undertaken by its Swiss subsidiary, Oerlikon Contraves. The Skyshield is a range-echeloned, ground-based air defense system. A highly effective combination of sensors, effectors and command technology enables it to bring down enemy aircraft as well as incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds. This process encompasses prevention, detection of incoming objects, alerting of friendly forces, intercepting the object, protection of billets and facilities, and returning fire.

Nowadays more than ever, military installations such as forward operating bases are vulnerable to rocket, artillery and mortar attacks. Indeed, such weapons have become tools of choice in asymmetric conflicts, with militants carrying out attacks with ever-smaller, ever-more effective projectiles - with little or no warning and often launched from built-up areas. The modular, lightweight system includes a tracking and surveillance radar unit, a remoted command post, and utilizes two 35mm revolver cannons to engage low-level threats from drones, helicopters and ground-attack aircraft. It used by the TNI-AU's ground Special Forces corps (the Korps Pasukan Khas, or PASKHAS) for protecting airstrips and critical infrastructure.

Vehicle-mounted configurations are also possible. Moreover, improvements in radar technology, the accuracy of effector orientation, the lethality of AHEAD ammunition and automated fire control make it possible for the Oerlikon Skyshield system to neutralize incoming RAM targets quickly and reliably while simultaneously avoiding collateral damage to the maximum possible extent. Importantly, Oerlikon Skyguard systems already in service can also be retrofitted with AHEAD technology. Rheinmetall's Skyshield technology places the company on the global cutting edge.

In February 2014, Indonesia opted to expand its inventory of Rheinmetall-made Oerlikon Skyshield air defence systems with a follow-on order for Skyshield fire units. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) had alrteady ordered six Skyshield units in 2009.