Denmark buys Rheinmetall Skyranger as the army’s new air defense

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The Ministry of Defense’s Danish Material Procurement Agency [FMI] announced on Tuesday that it has selected Rheinmetall’s Skyranger as the army’s new air defense.

Photo credit: Rheinmetall

The effectors will be a 30 x 173 mm machine gun, with a rate of fire of 1200 rounds per minute, combined with rockets. However, what anti-aircraft missiles will be integrated into the tower has not yet been decided.

“The so-called ‘high-velocity’ gun on the turret together with the missile system will be able to fight aircraft, helicopters, and drones. This type of choice took into account the latest experience from, among other things, the war in Ukraine,” says the FMI release.

Piranha V

The new air defense capability is to meet NATO’s force objectives for Denmark in the area of “Very Short Range Air Defence” [VSHORAD], and in its analysis work, FMI has been assisted by the Army’s expertise from the Danish Artillery Regiment and Command of defense [FKO]. It is Denmark’s Terma that is tasked with integrating sensors, fire control systems, and communication systems.

“With the Skyranger, we are acquiring the most advanced air defense for the Ground Forces. Several countries, including Germany, will have the same system so that we can cooperate on education, ammunition, spare parts, and ongoing updates. The next step will be to choose which anti-aircraft missile will be included in the system,” said Lt. Gen. Kim Jesper Jørgensen, head of the FMI.

The Skyranger turrets are to be mounted on Piranha V armored vehicles, of which Denmark has ordered 309 from General Dynamics European Land Systems – Mowag GmbH to replace the M113. The Piranha V has been in service in Denmark since 2019 and will be delivered by 2023. Several of the 309 ordered will have RS4 weapon stations from Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace [KDA] with integrated Spike LR2 anti-tank missiles from Eurospike.

For the Danish military, this is about reintroducing a capability they haven’t had since they phased out the US BGM-71 TOW system more than twelve years ago. According to FMI, they are buying the Spike LR2 as part of building up the 1st Brigade and a light infantry battalion in the 2nd Brigade.

Norway and Sweden

KDA can also deliver a combat air defense solution similar to what the Danes are now buying from Germany. A year ago, the US Marine Corps received the first so-called MADIS [Marine Air Defense Integrated System] systems manufactured by Kongsberg Protech Systems USA.

Photo credit: Reddit

The Madis consists of an RS6 RWS weapon station with a 30 mm gun [XM914E1, “short 30”], a 7.62 mm gun [M240C], and a kit to integrate two anti-aircraft missiles [FIM-92 Stinger, “air-to-air launcher”, Atal], with the possibility of eventually attaching other effectors that can fight drones.

Another neighboring country could certainly also consider the Danish contract: Sweden’s Saab launched its new combat air defense last summer, during the Eurosatory in Paris.

The Saab MSHORAD combines a Giraffe 1X radar and RBS 70 NG missiles, as well as Saab’s own command and control system, mounted on S-330 Mars armored vehicles from the Czech Republic’s SVOS.


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