Rio 2016: Brazil Buys Saab’s RBS-70 Air Defense Missiles
Vladimir Putin liked the Winter Olympics so much, he decided his army needed its own event. Brazil isn’t eyeing its neighbors’ territories, so they’re more focused on defensive preparations as they prepare for soccer’s World Cup in 2014, and a 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Air defense is part of standard security preparations, and Brazil’s array needed an update anyway. Early reports had Brazil looking to Russia, and that may still happen, but the 2014 World Cup will see Brazil deploy a new system from Sweden…
March 3/14: Saab announces an SEK 80 million / $12.2 million contract with Brazil for RBS-70 soldier-portable anti-aircraft missile systems:
“The deal comprises an undisclosed number of RBS 70 man-portable launchers, Mk II type missiles, simulators, night vision equipment, a test set, maintenance tools, spares, associated equipment, and training for the weapon’s operators and maintainers. The systems are among others intended to protect Brazil’s strategic infrastructure, and would be employed in protection of major incoming events, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.”
This small order (likely 12-16 systems) makes Brazil the RBS-70’s 19th customer. Unlike the Army’s more widespread Russian SA-18/24 Igla system, which depends on a seeker, the RBS-70 is a laser beamrider that homes in only on manually designated targets. That makes it essentially unjammable. It also makes the RBS 70 an excellent choice for very public venues that are likely to have a number of legitimate flying machines crowding the airspace at any given time.
The Mk.II is the most advanced form of the standard RBS-70 missile, with a speed of Mach 1.6 and a 7 km range. Saab’s release appears to make deliberate distinctions between Brazil’s buy and the most modern RBS-70 NG core system, and also between the standard Mk II missile and the top-tier Mach 2.0, 8 km Bolide. Sources: Saab, “Saab signs contract for RBS 70 with Brazilian Army”.
Brazil buying RBS-70s
Dec 17/13: Testing. Brazil’s Army confirms the BRL 4.5 million/ $1.9 million purchase of 1 RBS-70 MK2 BOLIDE system and firing rounds for tests. The announcement clearly specifies testing only, but it also recommends the system’s adoption for the 2014 World Cup. Sources: Tecnologia & Defesa, “Defesa antiaérea da Copa FIFA 2014: Brasil vai de RBS-70 MK2 Bolide”.
Brazil buying RBS-70s
- DID – F-X2: Brazil Picks Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen-NG over Rafale, Super Hornet. New fighters for Brazil, but they won’t come in time for the World Cup or Olympics.
- DID – Rio 2016: Brazil Looks to Russia for Air Defense Systems. SA-24 Igla-S portable missiles and vehicle-mounted Pantsir-S1 systems.