International Armoured Vehicles 2021: Saab Barracuda Update

Saab Barracuda’s presentation at International Armoured Vehicles 2021 provided a briefing on its products’ ability to support operations on “the observed battlefield”.

Saab slide on the multiple layers of battlefield observation present today.

In its presentation, the division emphasized the need for “signature management”, owing to the presence of multiple layers of battlefield observation systems operated by peer enemies. According to Saab Barracuda, its analysis has concluded that 75-85% of casualties in recent high intensity conflicts are from long-range fires, and that all targets detected by hostile sensors will be engaged due to ever-shortening kill chains, especially with the proliferation of the ability to detect and position emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Saab slide comparing the synthetic aperture radar signature of a T-72 with a T-72 equipped with Barracuda mobile camouflage, and with static camouflage layered on top of the mobile camouflage.

In addition to showing off the abilities of current Barracuda solutions to camouflage equipped systems and personnel across the electromagnetic spectrum, disrupting said kill chain, Saab Barracuda presented its concept for an advanced modular decoy during its presentation. The concept is based on an “energy self-sustained” trailer, allowing it to be towable by ground vehicles or airlifted by utility helicopters like a Blackhawk. Its foldable nature allows for it to be set up by just two soldiers, while presenting a multispectral signature identical to that of a real target camouflaged with Barracuda camo, with lifelike RF transmissions completing the deception. Saab Barracuda says that these decoys would ideally be deployed during the redeployment of forces, hopefully distracting hostiles into engaging the decoys while one’s forces move elsewhere.

Saab slide on the modular decoy concept

In addition to presenting its advanced modular decoy concept, Saab Barracuda laid out its future development plans. The division is launching a Barracuda multispectral coating with rubber tires as its launch use case, Barracuda tape for individual weapons and other equipment, as well as radar selective material that allows Barracuda-camouflaged radars to operate through the netting. Saab Barracuda says that it is currently working on 3D printed radar absorbent material as well as radar absorbing patterns to better counter proliferation of smaller synthetic aperture radars on UAVs.

Saab slide on their planned timeframes for future development

Additionally, the division says that it intends to revisit the thermal performance of its existing Barracuda solutions and apply new materials and technologies, with nanoparticles hoped to help make “extreme” weight reductions. Ultimately, the division intends to pursue organic camouflage from 2025 onwards, saying that users should “imagine not trying to mimic the background, but being the background”.