RBS 70 gunner Best job in the world?

As Leif Sätterström hands over his responsibilities to his Saab colleague Emil Holm, they have the same view: Train customer operators and test firing the RBS 70 and the new version, RBS 70 NG, around the world is a great job.

Leif Sätterström started his career in 1980, having previously been an officer in the Swedish Army’s Air Defence Regiment (Lv5) in Sundsvall for 10 years. There he successfully completed the instructor training for the new RBS 70 system and was one of the first to fire a live RBS 70 missile.

Initially, when Leif started his career at Saab, he was employed as a trainer for the RBS 70 air defence system. Since then he has carried out demo firings all over the world.

“I’ve visited all of our RBS 70 customers, in 19 countries worldwide, and I’ve trained all those who are currently using the system. I´ve had a great time with my colleagues and our customers and I would do it all over again if I could,” he says.

This also means that Sätterström is the world champion RBS 70 gunner. He has now pressed the firing button more than 200 times, and those firings have taken place in many different environments and very varied conditions.

“We are currently in the race for the Indian VSHORAD programme, where we are offering our RBS 70 NG system,” he says. “The process has been going on for a while now and I have of course many nice memories from it and I especially remember one time. It was a couple of years ago now, when we did a firing in India and it was quite unusual. We started in a place where it was 52 degrees in the shade and we ended up in the Himalayas at an altitude of 5,500 metres. Just amazing!”

Leif Sätterström will turn 68 years this summer, and he is now setting his sights on ending his career at Saab. He has already started to hand over some tasks to Emil Holm, who has worked at Saab as a trainer since 2011.

Emil Holm, also operating the RBS 70 in the Swedish Armed Forces as a reserve officer, really likes his job at Saab. “I almost feel sorry for everyone else since I’ve got the best job in the company!” he says with a big smile on his face.

“Performing firings is just fantastic. It´s a privilege to be the one who pushes the button on such an amazing air defence system”

Leif and Emil agree on the best parts of their work. “The most enjoyable part has been the superb customer contact and getting to travel a lot to meet the users,” says Sätterström.

“We do anything and everything,” says Holm. “One day we can provide training anywhere in the world, and the next day we´re meeting a customer that we´ve met on many occasions in the past. It’s tremendously varying.”