DE&S have awarded a £46 million contract to extend the British Army’s use of its Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset (MAMBA) weapon-locating radar systems.
The contract secures the continued use of the life-saving critical operational counter-fire capability that has been in service since 2003, supporting operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The contract, awarded to SAAB by the Artillery Systems team at DE&S, will see the company work with the Royal Artillery’s 5th regiment based in Catterick, to ensure the capability remains in service until 2026.
Team leader Colonel Jeremy Sharpe, said: “Providing the best possible equipment to our troops is what we do best, and I am delighted that we have now secured the future of MAMBA for the next six years.”
The MAMBA system works by giving advanced warning signals to troops on the front line by detecting incoming hostile fire. It is a highly-mobile weapon locating system, used for tasks including counter-battery missions and fire control, tactically deployed close to the forward line of troops.
Within the battlefield sectors or other areas of interest, MAMBA rapidly detects and tracks artillery projectiles and calculates points of origin and points of impact.
Based on the calculations produced by MAMBA, priorities are made and directions are provided for effective counterbattery fire. In fire control mode, MAMBA will track the projectiles of own fire and extrapolate the points of impact. In sense and warn mode, extrapolation of points of impact of incoming fire will trigger a timely warning to its own troops.
Deliveries of the MAMBA mid-life extension will take place between 2022 and 2023, with the support contract covering 2020 to 2026.
SAAB will carry out the work in Gothenburg, Sweden, with support also taking place at 5th Regiment Royal Artillery’s Barracks in Catterick, UK.
Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “MAMBA has long proven itself as a battle-winning capability, protecting civilians and troops on operations for many years. Our troops in Catterick will work alongside our counterparts at SAAB to ensure this life-saving piece of equipment remains in service for the next six years.”
Work is already underway to explore which capability will replace MAMBA when it goes out of service. Currently, the Army is considering SERPENS – a next generation weapon locating system with a digitally-networked suite of sensor systems that detect hostile mortars, artillery and rockets. This is still in the early stages of its concept phase and subject to further research and development.