The Swedish RBS 70 man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) has been spotted with Kiev forces for the first time ever.
On March 8, a photo surfaced online showing a soldier from the newly-formed 88th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Ground Forces with the MANPADS in an unspecified area within the Russian special military operation zone.
It is still unknown when exactly Sweden provided Ukraine with the RBS 70. Last September, the Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Ann Linde said the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration and Swedish Armed forces will explore the possibility of providing Ukraine with several weapon systems, including the RBS 70.
The RBS 70, which was developed by Bofors Defence, entered service in 1977. In 1982, the missile was improved to the MK I standard, while the MK II came in 1990.
The upgraded, the Mach 2 “BOLIDE” all target missile, appeared in 2003 along with improvements of the identification, friend or foe system and the ability to add a “BORC” thermal imager. In 2011, the auto-tracking RBS 70 Next Generation with an integrated thermal imager came with a range of nine kilometers and five kilometers height coverage.
Unlike most other MANPADS, which are heat seeking, the RBS 70 is guided by laser-beam riding. As a result, the system is immune to most countermeasures. However, it has no fire-and-forget capability.
The RBS 70 will pose a threat to slow, low-flying targets like drones and helicopters. However, it will not likely have much of an impact on the battlefield.
Ukraine has received thousands of MANPADS as well as several short and medium-range air defense systems from its allies since the start of the Russian special military operation last year. Despite this support, its airspace is still open for Russian aerial operations.
Source: South Front