Saab announced that it has received an order for its Giraffe 1X active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar. Citing a confidentiality agreement, Saab said it will not disclose the customer, quantity of radars or value of the deal.
“This … contract further underlines Saab’s position as a supplier of world-leading protection against a wide range of air threats. Saab’s new generation of highly mobile surface radars is what defence forces around the world are asking for,” stated Anders Linder, the head of Surface Radar Solutions at Saab Surveillance.
The Giraffe 1X comprises of Saab’s gallium nitride (GaN)-based transceiver modules (TRM), which enable for cooling and radar performance advantages over preceding gallium arsenide (GaA) TRMs. Saab markets the Giraffe 1X as a “small and lightweight yet high-performance 3D radar that is easily integrated in almost any type of mobile platform, fixed structure or C2 system.” An X-band AESA radar, the Giraffe 1X has an instrumented range of 75 km. It is small enough to fit on 4×4 utility vehicles, such as the Humvee.
Saab basically positions the Giraffe 1X as a fire control radar (FCR) solution for very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) systems. The Swedish vendor itself offers a VSHORAD solution in the form of the RBS-70 NG, a laser beam-riding surface-to-air missile (SAM) with a range of 9 km. Saab paired the Giraffe 1X and RBS-70 NG to create the Mobile Short-Range Air Defence Solution (MSHORADS).
However, Saab is open to outside SAM solutions. In 2016, Saab had partnered with South Africa’s Denel Dynamics to pair its Giraffe AMB radar to Denel Dynamics’ Umkhonto infrared-guided (IR) SAM, which has a range of 20 km. Thus far, this pairing (but with the Sea Giraffe AMB) has been implemented on Algeria’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) MEKO A-200AN multi-mission frigates.
The Giraffe 1X belongs to the Giraffe radar family, which also includes the Giraffe 4A and Giraffe 8A long-range air surveillance radars (with ranges of 280 km and 470 km, respectively). Like the 1X, the 4A and 8A are also based on GaN-based TRMs. Saab also has a GaN-based airborne solution in the Erieye ER. The 1X, 4A and 8A are also available as naval radars under the Sea Giraffe designation. As per Saab, the 1X and a long-range/high-level variant – 4A or 8A – can be used together onboard ships.
The Giraffe AMB and Sea Giraffe AMB are passive electronically-scanned array (PESA) radars. In December 2016, the Philippines ordered two Sea Giraffe AMB radars through the U.S. for $25 million U.S. Pricing information of the Giraffe 1X, 4A and 8A are not yet known, though the Giraffe 1X may be close to the Giraffe AMB (which too serves as a SHORAD and VSHORAD FCR).
Several of Saab’s leading customers have been known to attach confidentiality or non-disclosure terms. Many of these undisclosed orders in recent years have been from the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, though it need not be confined to those two countries.