“OTHELLOS” SHORAD System | The tireless “guardian” of the Cyprus Skies
The towed short range anti-aircraft (SHORAD) system “OTHELLOS” (as was named by the National Guard-N.G) has been in continuous service since 1991.
The “OTHELLOS” systems were part of the efforts made by the N.G to establish a small but modern air defence back to that date.
The main parts of the system (radar / fire control center, missile launchers and twin cannons) are designed to provide an all-weather anti-aircraft protection to tactical and strategic targets as part of the broader “anti-aircraft protection umbrella” at low and medium altitudes.
The Aspide missile launcher, which is a main part of the system, is made in Italy and to date it has been produced in three versions (Aspide MK1, Aspide MK2, Aspide-2000). The Swiss-made Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon has been produced in several versions to date. The National Guard is operating the GDF-003 Oerlikon version and the Aspide-2000 missiles.
Hellenic Air Force (HAF) operates a similar version of the “OTHELLOS” system, the SHORAD system “VELOS”, which entered service in 1982. “VELOS” system consists of:
- One (1) Super Giraffe Radar with 40 km range
- Two (2) Skyguard Radars with 20 Km range
- Four (4) Oerlikon 35mm twin cannons
- Four (4) Sparrow RIM – 7M missile launchers
“OTHELLOS” Technical Specifications
- ASPIDE 2000 manufacturer: MBDA (former SELENIA)
- OERLIKON GDF and SKYGUARD Radar producer: Rheinmetall (former OERLIKON CONTRAVES)
ASPIDE 2000 Missile:
- Maximum range: 20 Km
- Maximum engagement altitude: 6 Km
- Maximum Speed: 600 m/s (1.9 Mach)
- Missiles per launcher: 4
OERLIKON GDF twin cannon 35mm
- Maximum range: 12 km
- Active Range: 4 Km
- Firing Speed: 550 rounds/minute
- Caliber: 35mm
- Target Acquisition Range: 20 Km
- Band Width: X-Band
Typical Composition of “OTHELLOS” Battery
Each “OTHELLOS” SHORAD system consists of the SKYGUARD radar/fire control center, two quadruple ASPIDE 2000 missile launchers and two (2) OERLIKON GDF twin anti-aircraft cannons 35mm. The system is towed by STEYR 6X6 trucks. The same vehicles carry the extra ammunition (ASPIDE missiles-35mm rounds) as well as the personnel of each battery.
The SKYGUARD system (without surface-to-air missile launchers) was used in the operations during the War in the Falkland Islands between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982. It is considered responsible for a number of shoot-downs of British aircrafts.
In Cyprus, the “OTHELLOS” SHORAD system, along with the other air defence systems of the N.G, proved to be reliable in the field of exercises “NIKIFOROS-TOXOTIS” during the 1990s as well as the most recent drills “ONISILOS-GEDEON” between the N.G and the Israeli Air Force since 2014 onwards.
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