Giraffe 1X: Monitoring the Skies for New Generation of Aerial Threats

From surveillance to attacks from the air, UAVs have become a security headache

Show: Aero India 2023 - Day 1

The current ongoing conflicts has firmly brought home the age of drone warfare. The ubiquity of drone deployment points to a future where drones would be used extensively in the frontline by armed forces – from plain reconnaissance to suicide drones, tank busters, targeting drones, emergency supplies and more.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have gradually become a more efficient alternative to manned aircraft, and at present, they are being deployed in a broad spectrum of both military as well as civilian missions. Using drones and other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have become commonplace with several sensitive targets being attacked in the recent past, including in India. From surveillance to attacks from the air, UAVs have become a security headache. With faster developments in drone technology along with ongoing efforts in miniaturising components, drones are likely to be the biggest military threat worldwide.

Drones generally have low Radar Cross Section (RCS), slow speed and a small size—these characteristics make the task of detection difficult, and thereafter, identification and localisation even more so. In response, governments and military forces across the world, including in India have developed various approaches to detect these aerial systems.

The Indian Defence forces have since long demanded low level light weight radars to improve threat detection and response along its borders, providing an easy ingress route to aerial platforms. Such radar systems are the need of the hour for countries around the world and for India, Giraffe 1X is an ideal system whose exemplary performance can be an asset for the Indian Armed Forces. As an ideal air surveillance component in the Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) domain, Saab's Giraffe 1X delivers engagement-quality target data, drone detection, and Counter-Artillery-Rocket and Mortar (C-RAM) sense and warn in a single solution to ground-based air defence commanders in the GBAD domain. As the primary sensor for a Very Short Range Radar (VSHORAD) system, it can also serve as a gap filler to supplement larger Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) systems, or as a Counter-UAS (C-UAS) solution in some cases.

With its small size and compact design, the Giraffe 1X is an excellent choice when continuous air surveillance is required as part of short-range surveillance and ground-based air defence missions. Because of its light weight (less than 150 kg total system weight) and extremely low power consumption, it can be easily integrated into a mobile platform or fixed structure and operated in inhospitable terrain.

Giraffe 1X is one of the few radar systems on the market today that can simultaneously provide C-RAM and air surveillance without compromising performance. The system can land a fixed-wing aircraft while also doing complete C-RAM surveillance.

Because of Giraffe 1X's high update rate and Drone Tracker functionality, it is possible to respond quickly and effectively to changing threats, new tactics, and shifting operational conditions. It will detect any air threat, including Low, Slow, and Small (LSS) targets, thanks to the compact, high-performance 3D radar that covers the entire search volume in one second.

The Giraffe 1X can be used as a mobile asset, a deployable asset, or a fixed asset for short-range surveillance and ground-based defence. Giraffe 1X has a very small integration footprint, which is exceptional. In fact, the entire radar system can be transported in a vehicle the size of a pickup truck, by helicopter, or on a trailer. Alternatively, it can be permanently mounted on a building or a mast, or it can be integrated into a suitable vehicle. The system can be controlled from a distance or from a local point.

Giraffe 1X is capable of performing simultaneous air surveillance, GBAD target acquisition, and RAM sense and warn functions without affecting overall performance. It can also be delivered with a capability for sea surface surveillance and configured to be fully self-sufficient with C3 capabilities, among other options. The system permits the integration of standard or customised data links for the sharing and distribution of target information.

The naval version of Giraffe 1X i.e. the Sea Giraffe 1X naval radar, offers simultaneous surface and air surveillance capabilities. Like its land variant, it enhances situational awareness for maritime patrol, surface combat and counter- UAV operations.

The radar requires reduced power and maintenance with no forced cooling requirements and a minimal number of line-replaceable units (LRUs). A team of low-level trained engineers can conduct the maintenance and replace LRUs within a very short time.