Air Defense: Brazil Demands Immunity From Countermeasures


March 30, 2014: Brazil has ordered 16 Swedish RBS-70 antiaircraft systems. Each system consists of a tripod mounted launcher and fire control system and a variable number of missile reloads. A loaded RBS-70 weighs 87 kg (191 pounds). The missile has a range of 7,000 meters and a max altitude of 5,000 meters. The warhead weighs 1.1 kg (39 ounces) and has a proximity fuze (that can be turned off so that the missile has to hit the target, not just come close). Unlike most small anti-aircraft missiles RBS-70 is not a heat seeker but is directed to the target via a laser guidance which means the operator has to keep a laser aimed at the target until the missile hits. The missile moves at about a kilometer every three seconds.

Brazil chose RBS-70 as part of the security it must provide for the football (soccer) World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Thus the operator controlled RBS-70 missile is preferred as the terrorist aircraft may be used in a sky filled with legitimate aircraft. Also the RBS-70 cannot be jammed or confused as can heat seeking or radar guided missiles.

RBS-70 was introduced in 1977 and has been continually improved. It has been exported to 19 countries. Despite that the Swedish Armed forces are replacing it with a heat seeker based on the IRIS-T air-to-air missile.




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