February 1, 2010

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Country:  Sweden
Class:  SLCM
Target:  Ship
Length:  4.35 m
Diameter:  0.50 m
Wingspan:  1.40 m
Launch Weight:  790.00 kg
Payload:  200 kg HE, fragmentation
Propulsion:  Turbojet w/ solid booster
Range:  100.00 km
Guidance:  INS, radio altimeter, active radar
Status:  Operational
In Service:  1985-Present
Exported:  Finland, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia


The RBS-15 is a short-range, turbojet powered, single warhead, surface-to-surface and air-to-surface, anti-ship cruise missile developed and manufactured by Sweden. It was designed for deep water and littoral warfare, and can be launched from ships, aircraft, and ground vehicles.


Saab Missiles (now Saab Bofors Dynamics) began to develop the RBS-15 in 1979. Several versions exist including the ship-launched RBS-15M, the coastal defense RBS-15K, the air-launched RBS-15F, and the export version RBS-15CD. The ship-launched RBS-15M Mk 1 entered service with the Royal Swedish Navy in 1985, and is deployed on “Stockholm” and “Goteborg” class missile corvettes, and on “Visby” class corvettes in the future. The ground-launched coastal defense RBS-15K Mk 1 entered service with the Royal Swedish Coastal Artillery forces the same year, and is deployed on wheeled truck Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicles, each of which carry four missiles.


The ship-launched RBS-15M Mk 1 and coastal defense RBS-15K Mk 1 versions are identical. The missile has four wings and four canard stabilizing fins at the nose. It is 4.35 m in length, has a body diameter of 0.50 m, a maximum unfolded wingspan of 1.4 m, and has a launch weight of 790 kg. Midcourse guidance is provided by a preprogrammed autopilot with a radio altimeter for height control. The missile is powered by two jettisonable solid propellant booster motors and a turbojet sustainer motor. It has a minimum range of 10 km, a maximum range of 100 km, and a cruising speed of Mach 0.8. The missile carries a 200 kg high explosive blast/fragmentation warhead.


The air-launched RBS-15F Mk 1 missile entered service with the Royal Swedish Air Force in 1989. It is similar to the Mk 1 ship- and ground-launched versions, but does not include the two solid propellant boost motors.


In 1995, an upgrade program for the ship-launched RBS-15M Mk 1 and coastal defense RBS-15K Mk 1 versions began. The new RBS-15M Mk 2 and RBS-15K Mk 2 missiles include an increased range, improvements to the midcourse guidance system, and the ability to turn 90 degrees before the terminal phase. The missiles have a new turbojet sustainer motor, a new high explosive semi-armor piercing warhead, and a launch weight of 800 kg. The RBS-15M Mk 2 and RBS-15K Mk 2 missiles entered service in 1997. An air-launched RBS-15F Mk 2 upgrade entered service in 2001, and is deployed on AJ 37 Viggen and JAS 39 Gripen aircraft, each capable of carrying two missiles.


Sources indicate that testing of a Mk 3 upgrade began in 1997. The Mk 3 is believed to be more stealthy and maneuverable at high subsonic speed, and features new technology to hide its launch location and thus increase the survivability of the launch vehicle. It has a range in excess of 200 km, and may have land attack capability. Development continues, and ship-, ground-, and air-launched versions are planned. The size and weight of the Mk 3 upgrades are believed to be the same as the Mk 2 missile. In 2003, a Mk 4 upgrade was proposed, including an improved warhead and booster rockets with reduced smoke.


The RBS-15 has been exported to several countries under the designation RBS-15CD. The missile has been exported to Finland, where it has been fitted to “Helsinki” and “Rauma” class fast attack craft. It has also been exported to Germany, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia.(1)







  1. Duncan Lennox, ed., Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems 45 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, July 2006), pp. 167-169; SAAB, “RBS15 Mk3,” available at http://products.saab.se/PDBWebNew/Generic.aspx?Entrance=Product&ProductCategoryId=270&ProductGroupId=337&ProductId=657, accessed on November 8, 2006; Diehl BGT Defence, “Precise engagement of sea targets: RBS15 Mk 3,” available at http://www.diehl-bgt.de/index.php?id=550&L=1, accessed on November 8, 2006; GlobalSecurity.org, “RBS15,” available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/rbs15.htm, accessed on July 1, 2006; “Swedes study land-attack missiles for submarines,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, May 7, 1997.

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