BONN —- Two Modular, Automatic and Network-capable Targeting and Interception Systems (MANTIS) have been formally delivered to the German Air Force on Nov. 26. Developed and produced by Rheinmetall Air Defence, a Swiss subsidiary of Germany’s Rheinmetall, MANTIS is designed for 24/7 range protection against rockets, artillery shells or mortar rounds.
During a delivery ceremony at Husum, Germany, Lt. Gen. Dieter Naskrent, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff, hailed the MANTIS as a unique weapon. It will be operated by the Air Defence Missile Squadron 1 “Schleswig Holstein,” which also operates Germany’s Patriot air defense system.
The cost for the two MANTIS systems and a simulator was about 150 million euros ($194.4 million). The development of the system cost about 48 million euros.
The MANTIS project started in March 2007, when the Bundeswehr asked Rheinmetall to develop a range protection system to defend its soldiers in Afghanistan against mortar and rocket fire. Each MANTIS system consists of one containerized command-and-control center, a radar-based sensor to identify and track incoming targets, and four guns. All components are linked.
The system uses a 35mm revolver cannon with a cadence of 1,000 rounds per minute. However, to hit and kill an incoming target, only small salvos of a programmable Ahead airburst ammunition are fired.
MANTIS can be fully integrated into existing command and information systems. According to Rheinmetall, future MANTIS systems could include anti-aircraft missiles or high-energy lasers.
Based on the company’s Oerlikon Skyshield air defense technology, MANTIS is designed as a stationary protection for installations and critical civilian infrastructure from low-altitude aerial threats, including manned and unmanned aircraft. The German military will use it primarily to protect military camps.