Saab has received an order from the Ministry of Defence for a mid-life extension and support for the Arthur weapon locating system.

The order value is £39.4m and was booked in Q4 2019.

According to Saab:

“Arthur protects forces and civilians by providing warning of incoming fire and is also used for tasks including counterbattery missions and fire control. The mid-life extension will represent a major programme of obsolescence management by the insertion of modern technology, ensuring that this critical operational counter-fire capability can be sustained on a cost-effective basis through to its extended out-of-service date.”

“Our Arthur systems have contributed to protecting UK forces for more than 15 years. We look forward to continuing to strengthen the UK’s weapon locating capability for years to come,” says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.

Deliveries of the mid-life extension will take place between 2022 and 2023. The support contract covers 2020-2026.

Saab say it will carry out the work in Gothenburg, Sweden, with support also taking place at 5th Regiment Royal Artillery’s Marne Barracks in Catterick, UK. Arthur is known in the UK as the Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield (MAMBA) radar.

“MAMBA has long proven itself as a battle-winning capability, protecting civilians and troops on operations for many years. Our troops in Catterick will work alongside our counterparts at Saab to ensure this life-saving piece of equipment remains in service for the next six years”, says Jeremy Quin MP, the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement.

The UK received the first Arthur systems from Saab in 2003, and the systems have supported operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Whatever happened to COBRA? (Counter Battery Radar)


It’s been quietly retired and put up for sale. On paper looked spectacularly advanced. But apparently was complex and unreliable. By all accounts the UK systems are in Germany at the manufacturers getting updated before going onward to the new purchaser.

Daniele Mandelli

Oh! This is news to me, thank you.


Any idea what stage of T&E it got to in the UK? I’m a big fan of the SAAB kit we have but on paper this appears a generation ahead?


It entered service. Don’t think it was sent to Iraq though. The fact that a system leased to cover the gap has been retained should tell you all you need to know…

BV Buster

“used for tasks including counterbattery missions and fire control”

And what, good sir, will be firing back in this epic counter fire battle? our artillery systems that has half the range as its opposition? sounds legit!



True, in 2003 (long time ago I know but nothing has changed) in Iraq, when the Light guns were engaged by Iraqi Arty, to respond they would locate the Iraqi positions, then do a “gun raid” at night, which means 6 guns and limbers would drive towards the Iraqi positions for maybe 5 miles (closing the distance) then coming into action in 2 minutes, firing 10 rds FFE charge super, then coming out of action and fucking off out of there quick, as Iraqi CB fire would be landing all around. A rather effective, but risky and time consuming tasking,… Read more »

Steve Martin

Jesus, balls of steel.


Completely irrelevant but love the cat pic


I’d like to think it is ,seeing as COBRA is a system still in use by the Germans and French

And it was delivered to 5 Regt RA in 1999


Thanks for the hat tip regards Mrs Miggins, decided to move into our spare room when the neighbour took her on and when said neighbour moved , Mrs Miggins remained comment image


Farouk you’d have to say that if COBRA was working as expected in 99 why would we take delivery of a replacement in 03. From an individual in RA I know he described it as brilliant If someone’s launching a surface launched missile or firing large calibre guns (120mm+)at you but other than that, rather questionable infomation came out of it.


It wouldn’t stand a chance against a cheap Turkish drone.


Andy wrote:
It wouldn’t stand a chance against a cheap Turkish drone.</b.

The old Turks have done rather well with the UAVs inside Syria haven't they:
here's a list of what they managed to destroy and capture:


Utterly devastating. Imagine if our army suffered those losses?

And that will make Mr Putin will have SERIOUS thoughts about any plans for a massive armored land invasion.

Well that, and this..

We live in different times now.


I doubt it. Russia has been involved (indirectly!!!) with Ukraine over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. The conflict in these areas has stalemated to quasi trench warfare. However, both sides initially had next to no UAVs. The situation now has changed massively. Both Russia and Ukraine have developed new infantry used UAVs, initially toy versions bought off the net, but lately developing some really capable versions. It was the conflict in Ukraine that saw them first weaponized, which then spread to Syria. The most common form was a grenade attached via servo that could be dropped by… Read more »


Davey wrote:
They have being using ZSU23s Shilkas as a counter to the drones.

The ZSU23/4 inside Syria have had their radar removed, whilst both Syria and Russia have the Pantsir, from what i have read the most lethal weapon in use against the Turkish UAVs has been the Buk


I can’t account for what’s been happening inside Syria, but in Ukraine. Their army has shot down some 45% of drones in the conflict using dedicated air defences, with another 40% downed by small arms fire and the final 10% with electronic measures. The most commonly shot-down Russian drone is the Orlan-10. In one incident last year a Ukrainian Mi-24 Hind helicopter destroyed an Orlan-10, which is a propeller-driven medium-range (fairly slow), multi-purpose UAV primarily used for ISR. This drone is used by the Russians in Syria. Below is a link to an Air & Space article that reported on… Read more »


Much improved on my time in Motor locating radar Green Archer/Cymbeline when the system could only locate 1 morter at a time which also involved operater error in the final solution, these modern systems will locate a 100 different rounds in flight automactically with no operator error, so as long as the radar has been surveyed in accurately they can then direct artillery fire onto those targets with a great deal of precision.