German Army armoured vehicle firing a Roland surface to air missile

The Roland is a Franco-German mobile short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. The Roland is one of a very few foreign SAM systems to be purchased for the US Army.

The development of the Roland began in 1964 as a joint project of Aérospatiale (France) and MBB (Germany), who later founded the Euromissile company for this and other missile programs.




The first guided launch of a Roland prototype succeeded in June 1968. Although it had been originally planned to field Roland by 1970, the test and evaluation phase of the system turned out to be much longer, especially for the all-weather variant. The clear-weather Roland I finally entered operational service with the French Army in 1977, while the all-weather Roland II was first fielded by the German Army in 1978.

The Roland is a very compact mobile short-range air-defence system, which combines all components on one dedicated vehicle. The missile is fired from tube-launchers and has a dual-thrust (boost/sustain) solid-fuelled rocket motor. Immediately after the missile has left the tube, the four cruciform wings and small canards are extended.


The wings and fins are fixed, and the Roland is steered in flight by jet vanes. A semi-automatic line-of-sight radio command guidance system directs the missile to its target, where the 6.5 kg (14.3 lb) pre-fragmented warhead is detonated by a combined proximity/impact fuse.

ROLAND Specifications
Type Short range anti-aircraft defence
Manufacturer EADS
Weight 65kg
Warhead HE hollow charge
Length 2.5m
Diameter 16cm
Performance Speed Mach 1.6, range 6km, guidance Semi-Active Command-to-Line-Of-Sight (SACLOS) or Command-to-Line-Of-Sight (CLOS)