The Romanian MoD has contracted with Rheinmetall to thoroughly modernise the country’s Oerlikon GDF 103 air defence artillery systems.
Press Release, Düsseldorf, 22 December 2023: The Romanian ministry of defence has contracted with Rheinmetall to thoroughly modernise the country’s Oerlikon GDF 103 air defence artillery systems. For the Düsseldorf-based technology enterprise, this is the first ever major order from Romania, a NATO and EU member state. Worth around €328 million, the contract encompasses the delivery of four systems as well as training, spare parts and other services. Two systems are to be delivered within the next two years, and two more within three years.
“This substantial first-time order from the Romanian government widens our footprint in Central Europe. It also underscores Rheinmetall’s role as a leading supplier of ground-based air defence systems. Moreover, the order will bolster the defensive capabilities of the EU and NATO on Europe’s eastern flank, something we’re very happy about”, states Armin Papperger, chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall AG.
In Satu Mare, Romania, close to the country’s borders with Ukraine and Hungary, Rheinmetall has already been operating a service hub for several months now, where it maintains and services military vehicles.
Each of the systems ordered consists of an Oerlikon Skymaster TLCN fire control system; an X-Band Tactical Acquisition Radar 3D, or X-TAR3D; six 35mm GDF009 TREO Oerlikon Twin Guns, including autoloader; and two heavy-duty special trucks for transporting the fire control system and the tracking radar.
Rheinmetall’s Skynex: An upgraded Oerlikon anti-aircraft artillery system, the Group’s Skynex air defence solution is a modular, flexible ground-based air defence system for the protection of stationary objects and installations in close and short range. Representing the latest state of the art, it is capable of simultaneously engaging up to four targets at very short range, including ground targets.
Cannon-based air defence solutions from the Skynex product family lend themselves especially well to close-range operations where guided missiles are ineffective. The effectors used here are Oerlikon rapid-fire automatic cannon featuring a rate of fire of 1,100 rounds per minute and a maximum effective range of up to 4,000 metres.
The recent success of the ageing 35mm Gepard anti-aircraft tank in Ukraine underscores the remarkable efficiency of cannon-based air defence in countering aerial threats – especially cruise missiles and drones – and the continuing importance of short-range air defence in modern warfare. Compared to the Gepard, Skynex constitutes not only a generational leap in terms of sensor technology, the networked deployment of multiple tactical units and inclusion in higher-echelon command and control systems. Its unique combat effectiveness also results from using Rheinmetall’s programmable time-delayed 35mm Ahead ammunition, assuring maximum effectiveness against small, fast-moving targets.