Germany is looking with interest at Israel's recent experience with its Iron Dome C-RAM system during Operation Pillar of Defense last November. Iron Dome has a longer range than Mantis, which could fill in the gap at shorter ranges.
Lt. Col. Arnt Kuebart, commander of FlaGrp, says Mantis is operational, with one system designated for deployment and the second for training, although both can be deployed if necessary. George says deployment to Afghanistan would have required 36 troops. For ground mobility, Rheinmetall has conducted tests of Mantis mounted in trucks. A challenge is keeping the guns stable during firing.
Garbe says Mantis has an “open architecture for the integration of further sensors and effectors, be they high-energy lasers or new missiles.” The system may also be used offshore. Kurt Rossner, head of Rheinmetall Air Defense, says a Mantis gun was tested on an oil platform with a computer program to stabilize it.
The Bundeswehr has an option for two more Mantis systems, but Naskrent says no decision has been made to acquire them. Mantis cost €48 million ($62.4 million) to develop, and the first two systems cost €138 million, according to Rheinmetall.