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RBS15 Antiship missile system

Saab Bofors Dynamics & Bodenseewerk Gerätetechnik GmbH

posted by Robert Schlesinger

Saab Bofors Dynamics’ anti-ship missile system RBS15 Mk3 is a fire and forget multi purpose all-weather anti-ship/land attack, sea skimming, cruise type missile. The system is jointly produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics, Sweden and Bodenseewerk Gerätetechnik (BGT), Germany. The cooperation between Saab Bofors Dynamics and BGT began on 24 September 1999.

The RBS15 system exists in several generations: Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 which have different capabilities. Version Mk4 is comming soon
The Mk1 is no longer in production.

Mk2 is qualified to be launched from a number of different platforms such as land-based launchers and aircraft.

The difference between Mk2 is that Mk2 missiles are rotated at an angle of 45 degrees at launch (as seen on the picture), while the Mk3 is not.

Version Mk4 will be used for new German Braunschweig class corvettes.

The RBS15 Mk3 SSM family is available in this three versions:

Main Characteristics

The Saab RBS15 Mk3 is a “fire and forget” anti-ship missile with all-weather, day and night operational capability.
The main characteristics are:

Operational scenarios

The RBS15 Mk3 is designed to operate in different naval scenarios, from open sea to close-to-coast and in land attack missions. The long flight range and flexible trajectory enables attacks from short distances to ranges well beyond the horizon. Attacks can also be mounted from different directions with pre-selected time of arrival for each missile as well as simultaneous arrival.

Types of operational scenarios

Missile Engagement Planning System

The RBS15 Mk3 system is controlled through Missile Engagement Planning System (MEPS) which contains features such as:

All targets are displayed for the operator together with the complete engagement plan for each missile. The operator can see the map of the combat area in order to overview the operational scenario and to make changes to the engagement plans.
To facilitate co-ordinated attacks from several weapon carriers, engagement data can be exchanged over a digital interface and be displayed on the screen. The system can also receive and transmit complete engagement plans to and from higher command levels. This enables an extensive support to the tasking, direction and control of the RBS15 Mk3 system.

Key features

Long firing range

Using the ship’s or the missile battery’s own sensors (radar, ESM etc.) in combination with external sensors (e.g. other ships or airborne early warning) allows maximum exploitation of the RBS15 Mk3’s firing range, from extremely short to very long. Not only can attacks be mounted beyond the range of the opponent’s offensive systems, but they can also be carried out beyond the target’s radar horizon. The long flight range, combined with the use of multiple waypoints, permits advanced tactics such as attacking from any selected direction and making use of terrain, such as islands, to mask the missile’s approach. It also gives a re-attack capability.

Target discrimination and selection

In littoral warfare and multi-target scenarios, a target discrimination and selection capability is vital, as is the need to avoid collateral damage. With the Saab RBS15 Mk3, specific target selection is achieved by a high-resolution radar seeker, intelligent signal processing and a number of programmable parameters such as target priority, search area size, target size, masking and attack direction.

Soft-kill resistance

The Saab RBS15 Mk3 is designed to be highly resistant to all kinds of ECM. Chaff, active jammers, decoys and other types of electronic countermeasures are effectively countered by the unique combination of the inherent characteristics of the target seeker itself and the sophisticated signal processing.

Hard-kill resistance

The success of a mission also depends on the ability to penetrate a target’s missile and gun defences. The Saab RBS15 Mk3 combines sea-state adapted extremely low sea-skimming with unpredictable evasive manouvres and increased thrust in the terminal phase. To further improve the hit probability against heavily defended targets, RBS15 Mk3 can be salvo-launched. Missiles in the salvo are individually programmed to arrive simultaneously at the target from different directions, thereby saturating the ship’s defences.

RBS15 Mk3 missile design

Each missile is contained in a canister, which serves as launcher as well as environmental protection throughout the missile’s life cycle.


The missile has cruciform wings and canards with elevons on the wings. In its ship- and truck-launched version, it is launched by means of two booster motors. Sustainer power is provided by a variable-thrust turbojet engine.

The guidance and control system consists mainly of a inertial measurement unit and a GPS receiver, a radar altimeter and high Ku-band active radar target seeker with jittered PRF and frequency agility, providing inherently good ECM characteristics. The wide antenna and the very short high power monopulse provide excellent angular and range resolution.

In order to increase land strike capability missiles could be equipped by dual-mode radar/imaging IR seeker.

The devastating effect is ensured optimised high explosive blast and pre-fragmented warhead. The instantaneous or delayed initiation of the warhead is triggered by direct impact or fused by a proximity sensor.


RBS15 Mk3 missile and canister specifications

Press Releases

Saab will deliver RBS15 Mk3 to the Polish Navy



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