Air Defense: Cheap Defense Against Low Flying Threats


June 4, 2024: In April Germany shipped the second truck-mounted Skynex low-altitude anti-aircraft system to Ukraine. The first one arrived a year earlier. Ukraine ordered these systems in late 2022. Each Skynex system costs $91 million. Skynex is an updated version of the earlier Skyranger 30, a turret-mounted air defense gun system armed with a 30mm autocannon firing 1,350 shells a minute. Maximum aimed range is 2,500 meters. Skyranger and Skynex both use a fire control system with sensors that can detect small, low flying UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and quickly destroy them. The Skynex/Skyranger fire control systems also connect with and share target data with external radar and target detection systems which are denser in the Ukraine than even in Israel.

Skynex uses a 3D AESA radar with an infrared (heat sensing) sensing. The radar/heat sensor operates continuously and can detect airborne objects up to fifty kilometers distant and destroy targets that come within 4,000 meters of the Skynex 35mm autocannon. There is an optical (visual) sensor the operator can monitor to confirm that the target the system detected is one that is hostile and can be fired on. Otherwise, the system operator waits for another potential target or targets. In a situation where there are a lot of legitimate targets, Skyranger's fire control system allows all potential targets to be fired on and destroyed or put out of action.

In Ukraine, threats often consist of multiple armed UAVs. Skynex is designed to quickly clear the air of such threats. If the war in Ukraine continues beyond 2024, vehicles equipped with Skyranger/Skynex turrets will be available to help clear the air of Russian UAVs, cruise missiles and low flying aircraft.




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