is a Franco-German mobile short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. The Roland was also purchased by the U.S. Army as one of very few foreign SAM systems.
Roland was designed to a joint French and German requirement for a low-level mobile missile system to protect mobile field formations and fixed, high-value targets such as airfields. Development began in 1963 as a study by Nord Aviation of France and Bolkow of Germany with the system then called SABA in France and P-250 in Germany. The two companies formed a joint development project in 1964 and later (as Aérospatiale of France and MBB of Germany) founded the Euromissile company for this and other missile programs. Aerospatiale took primary responsibility for the Roland 1 day/clear-weather system while MBB took primary responsibility for the Roland 2 all-weather system. Aerospatiale was also responsible for the rear and propulsion system of the missile while MBB developed the front end of the missile with warhead and guidance systems. The first guided launch of a Roland prototype took place in June 1968, destroying a CT-20 target drone and fielding of production systems was expected from January 1970. The test and evaluation phase took much longer than originally anticipated with the clear-weather Roland I finally entering operational service with the French Army in April 1977, while the all-weather Roland II was first fielded by the German Army in 1978 followed by the French Army in 1981. The long delays and ever-increasing costs combined with inflation meant Roland was never procured in the numbers originally anticipated.
Roland SAM Variants
The Roland SAM system was designed to engage enemy air targets flying at speeds of up to Mach 1.3 at altitudes between 20 meters and 5,500 meters with a minimum effective range of 500 meters and a maximum of 6,300 meters. The system can operate in optical or radar mode and can switch between these modes during an engagement. A pulse-doppler search radar with a range of 15–18 km detects the target which can then be tracked either by the tracking radar or an optical tracker. The optical channel would normally be employed only in daylight against very low-level targets or in a heavy jamming environment.
The Roland missile is a two-stage solid propellant unit 2.4 meters long with a weight of 66.5 kg including the 6.5 kg multiple hollow-charge fragmentation warhead which contains 3.5 kg of explosive detonated by impact or proximity fuses. The 65 projectile charges have a lethal radius of 6 meters. Cruising speed is Mach 1.6. The missile is delivered in a sealed container which is also the launch tube. Each launcher carries two launch tubes with 8 more inside the vehicle or shelter with automatic reloading in 10 seconds.
For defense of fixed sites such as airfields the shelter Roland can be integrated in the CORAD (Co-ordinated Roland Air Defense) system which can include a surveillance radar, a Roland Co-ordination Center, 8 Roland fire units and up to 8 guns.
- Roland 1 - This is the clear-weather version used by the French and Spanish armies on the AMX-30R chassis.
- Roland 2 - This is the all-weather version employed on the AMX-30R and Marder chassis and also as a shelter mount in either a static location or mounted on a 6x6 or 8x8 all-terrain truck. Euromissile, MaK, IBH and Blohm and Voss of Germany in 1983 proposed the Leopard 1 tank chassis as a carrier for the Roland system to appeal to those countries who already used the Leopard I tank.
- American Roland - Selected in 1975 as the forward air defense system for U.S. Army divisions the first missiles were delivered in 1977 with the first firing from the XM975 launcher vehicle (a modified M109 howitzer chassis) taking place in September 1978. American Roland was essentially Roland 2 with a longer-ranged American search radar. The palletized fire unit could be installed and rapidly removed from the XM975 chassis, installed on a truck or used as a static emplacement. Problems with technology transfer and rising costs killed the program and only 27 fire units and 600 missiles were built for one battalion in the Army National Guard, mounted on M812 flatbed trucks. With the failue of the M247 Sergeant York the U.S. Army leased 5 German Roland systems for evaluation as a possible replacement.
- Roland 3 - This system was an upgrade of existing Roland 1/2 systems for the French and German systems to maintain them in service through 2010. It included replacing the existing optical sight with a GLAIVE integrated thermal sighting system with laser rangefinder that allows for night and poor weather operation without the radar.
- Roland M3S - The prototype for this next-generation Roland system was completed in 1992 and was offered to meet the air defense requirements of Turkey and Thailand. The prototype was a shelter installed on the chassis of the American M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System and featured a then Dassault Electronique Rodeo 4 or a Thomson CSF (now Thales) search radar. Roland M3S can be operated by one man although 2 are necessary for sustained operation and the operator can select radar, TV or optronic (FLIR) tracking. Roland M3S has 4 instead of 2 missile containers in the ready-to-fire position but only the 2 lower positions can be automatically reloaded. In addition to the existing Roland missile Roland M3S could use the Roland 3 missile, the RM5 missile, or the VT-1 missile of the Crotale missile system. Additionally the upper launch containers could be replaced by 2 pairs of launchers for the Mistral missile or the standard Roland missile container could be adapted to carry four FIM-92 Stinger missiles to increase the systems ability to rapidly engage multiple targets in a saturation attack.
- Roland 3 missile - This uses either the existing Roland missile or a new Roland 3 missile with speed increased from 550 m/s to 620 m/s and range increased from 6.3 to 8.5 km with maximum effective altitude increased to 6,000m. Warhead size is also increased to 9.1 kg with 84 projectile charges. Response time for the first target is quoted as 6–8 seconds with 2–6 seconds for subsequent targets. The Roland 3 missile can be used by all Roland systems.
- Roland RM5 missile - This was a joint project between the then Matra and Aerospatiale of France and MBB of Germany begun in 1987 for a missile with increased speed and range. RM5 was designed to achieve speeds of 1,600 m/s (Mach 5.0) with the range increased to 10 km. Without a launch customer development of this company-funded weapon ceased in 1991.
- Roland VT-1 missile - In September 1991 Euromissile and the then Thomson CSF (now Thales) agreed to integrage the VT-1 missile of the Crotale NG system into the Roland 3 system with retrofitting of French and German Roland fire units from 1996.
Current systems are capable of launching Roland 2, 3 or VT1 missiles.
- From 1969 Euromissile studied Roland as a possible naval weapon for shipboard installation. Originally known as Roland MX and later as Jason the standard twin launcher (without search radar) with two below-decks 8-round reloading drums could be installed on a standard sized module that was featured in several proposed Blohm & Voss MEKO frigate proposals of the 1970s. No prototype or production systems were built with attention turning early on to an abortive vertically launched missile.
The Roland system has been installed on a variety of platforms, amongst them:
Roland 2 was proposed in the early 1980s for installation on the Leopard I tank chassis, probably to meet an expected Dutch army requirement but was never built. In configuration it would have been very similar to the AMX-30R.
American Roland on the M109 chassis was built in prototype form but production systems were rather hastily installed on 6x6 flatbed trucks.
An airliftable shelter named Roland CAROL
has also been developed, which is a 7.8t container that can be deployed on the ground to protect fixed assets like airfields or depots or fitted on a ACMAT truck.
Roland Type Surface to air missile Production history Manufacturer Euromissile Specifications Weight 67 kg Length 2.40 m Diameter 16 cm Warhead 6.5 kg (14.3 lb) pre-fragmented high-explosive Engine Dual-thrust solid-fueled rocket:
- Booster: "Roubaix" rocket, 15.3 kN for 1.7 s
- Sustainer: "Lampyre" rocket, 1.96 kN for 13.2 s
Wingspan 50 cm Operational
range 8000 m Flight altitude 5500 m Speed Mach 1.6 Guidance
system tracking radar