“OTHELLOS” SHORAD System | The tireless “guardian” of the Cyprus Skies

Defence Redefined
Published on 29/11/2020 at 21:25

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.  

Also read: TOR M1 | The reliable SHORAD of the National Guard

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. 

Also read: BUK M1-2 “The spearhead of the Cyprus Air Defence” | VIDEO

Operational Evaluation

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.

Also read:

Stryker A1 | Interim Maneuver Short-range Air Defence Vehicle – VIDEO






Pin It on Pinterest

Share This