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Oerlikon ADATS

Air Defense Anti-Tank System (ADATS) [ 1989 ]

The ADATS lived a short service live with the Canadian Army - unfortunately having arrived at the end of the Cold War.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/14/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Canadian ADATS ("Air Defense Anti-Tank System"), a Western product of the later Cold War period, was categorized as a SHOrt-Range Air Defense (SHORAD) system used to deny airspace and ground-space from encroaching enemy elements. The Oerlikon turret (brought about by Swiss-based Oerlikon) was the primary component of ADATS and could be mounted onto a tracked or wheeled chassis such as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) or the LAV-25 8x8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (ARV) (the Canadian version used the M113). The Canadian Army ended as the only notable operator of the ADATS system, joined in foreign sales only by the nation of Thailand which took on just a single turret example for fixed placement.

The United States Army, at one time, evaluated the ADATS under the Forward Area Air-Defense (FAAD) initiative but the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s marked an end to this interest. Similarly Greece passed on ex-Canadian Army ADATS vehicles in favor of the ASRAD "Hellas" system from Rheinmetall of Germany.

Canadian Army service entry was in 1989 and early use featured them as part of the NATO air defense presence for West Germany. Beyond this, the units went on to see very little operational service in a warzone. Their cost in development and maintenance ensured a short life with the Canadian Army who promptly retired the line around 2012 with successor planned.

As finalized, ADATS fitted an unmanned turret with a missile warload set as two banks of four missiles each around a radar fit. Effective range was out to 13 kilometers (8 miles) against air- or ground-based targets and the onboard radar could reportedly track up to twenty targets. The missiles relied on a laser fuse detonation with variable delay feature and utilized a combination fragmentation/shaped-charge warhead to penetrate a stated 900mm+ of Rolled Homogeneous Armor (RHA) armor. The missiles featured FLIR (Forward-Looking InfraRed) and TV guidance.

The ADATS system was manufactured in Zurich (Switzerland) and Quebec (Canada). The Canadian model, built atop the M113 hull, retained its Detroit Diesel 6-cylinder diesel engine of 212 horsepower offering road speeds near 35 miles per hour. Operational range was out to 400 kilometers. Cross-country travel was aided through a torsion bar suspension system and the base crew numbered three - driver, command, and system operator. A large, powered ramp at the rear of the hull offered clear entry/exit for the crew.

An attempt was made to modernized the ADATS line through the MMEV (Multi-Mission Effects Vehicle) promising better system performance - particularly accuracy. The chassis of choice was to become the LAV-III (or similar 8x8 wheeled vehicle. Other features boasted for the improved design included long-range, Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs), a 3D radar system and InfraRed vision equipment. Originally intended for service in 2010, this initiative fell to naught om 2007 - aiding the ADATS in its demise.


Service Year

Canada national flag graphic


Oerlikon Contraves Canada / Defense R&D - Canada / Switzerland
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Canada National flag of Thailand Canada (retired); Thailand (single example; fixed defense)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.

15.9 ft
4.85 m
8.9 ft
2.7 m
8.2 ft
2.5 m
34,833 lb
15,800 kg
17.4 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Oerlikon ADATS production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Detroit Diesel Model 6V-53 6-cylinder water-cooled diesel-fueled engine with an output of 212 horsepower driving a conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
36.0 mph
(58.0 kph)
248.5 mi
(400.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Oerlikon ADATS production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
8 x Dual Purpose Missiles (FLIR and TV guidance) fitted in two banks of four missiles each.

Supported Types

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
8 x Oerlikon Aerospace dual-purpose surface-to-air / anti-tank missiles.

ADATS - Base Air Defense System component fitted to existing M113A2 or Bradley vehicle chassis; 36 examples taken on by the Canadian Army (these since retired).

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