Dstl and QinetiQ say they have completed trials to assess a system to protect combat vehicles and their occupants.

The organisations say that October 2019 marked the completion of the Medusa Technology Assessment Programme (TAP), which has been running for the last 3.5 years.

“As part of the overall Dstl Active Integrated Protection Systems Research Project (under the Land Systems research programme), Dstl contracted QinetiQ Ltd to conduct Medusa, assessing a commercial-off-the-shelf soft kill Active Protection System. The Hensoldt MUSS system was selected and evaluated by QinetiQ supported by a team of industrial and MOD partners (QinetiQ, Hensoldt, BAE Systems, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Textron ESL).

The performance and utility of the system was evaluated with respect to subsystem and system performance, system integration, human factors integration as well as its safety, security and legality, and the operational impacts associated with use and deployment of such a system. The integration assessment included the installation of a MUSS® system to a Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, coupled with assessment by the Army to understand the benefits and challenges associated with such equipment across the Defence Lines of Development (DLODs).”

It is understood that the laboratory testing and trialling of the system culminated in a full end-end system evaluation during missile live fire trials held in Woomera, South Australia during October 2018, conducted as part of the AUS/UK bi-lateral partnership between Dstl and DST Group (Australia), and also supported by the Anglo-German MOU held with BAAINBw.

“Medusa has provided vital insights in to the capabilities, benefits and limitations of such equipment, and will be used to inform future direction for both APS research and evaluation activities, and support to potential future acquisition programmes.  As part of the Army’s future APS strategy, the Leonardo-led Icarus programme is developing an open modular architecture specification for active protection as a cross-fleet capability, with a view to publishing the Modular Integrated Protection System (MIPS) standard as a NATO Standardisation Agreement (STANAG). Soft kill subsystems and technologies will form a key part of this future modular and scalable approach to land active protection.”

QinetiQ say that Medusa has demonstrated an effective and productive partnership between industrial partners and the MoD, and has effectively utilised IRC agreements to deliver a successful and mutually beneficial package of work.

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BV Buster
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BV Buster

Active protection systems are, without doubt the future. Proliferation of modern, cheap and easy to use ATGMs have changed the current battlefield dynamic. Gone are the days of sweeping formations of tanks and IFVs, a small force of well equipped enemy will stop you in your tracks (literally). If you equip the force with an effective APS, it changes dramatically again back in favour of the MBT, for that reason and the fact that an APS will struggle against a Modern gun fired APFSDS projectile, the MBT will be back as top dog on the battlefield. The science behind APS… Read more »

maurice10
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maurice10

Active is the way ahead for all armoured vehicles, but especially the MBT. The CH2 fitted with APS will in some ways justify the small numbers earmarked for the upgrade, as the survival rates should increase exponentially? Anything to retain the MBT in the Army’s arsenal is okay with me.

dan
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dan

APS is a good additional defensive feature for any combat vehicle but like any other system there are positives and negatives. For one, the current systems add a lot of weight to the vehicles that are already overloaded with armor, systems, ect. Also potential enemies are already devising counters to the current crop of APS systems. Russia is developing or has a couple hand held anti tank weapons that reportedly can get through the Trophy system when used by competent soldiers. Also ATGMs that attack by diving onto the top of the turret have a better chance of hitting the… Read more »

maurice10
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maurice10

Dan, you are correct. Since warfare began the redundancy of weaponry has been an ongoing factor in the design and tactics of fighting hardware. Max Hastings tells us that aircraft carriers are vulnerable and expensive. So, what is new, yet we still build them because on balance they work? The job of the weapon designers /engineers is to find ways to destroy and protect, and so it goes on. That said, APS is the best way forward at the moment, even though there will inevitably be a way around the system at some stage? So, in the medium to longterm,… Read more »

farouk
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farouk

BV Buster wrote: Active protection systems are, without doubt the future. Good point, however I do believe the above is incorrectly labelled, I quote: Dstl contracted QinetiQ Ltd to conduct Medusa, assessing a commercial-off-the-shelf soft kill Active Protection System. “MUSS is an Active Protection System (APS) designed to reduce the likelihood of the vehicles being hit by anti-tank guided missiles or laser-guided ammunition. Components of the soft-kill APS system include four warning sensors, an infrared jammer head, a central unit, jammer electronics and a smoke grenade launcher. The warning sensors contribute to the protection of the vehicles by detecting incoming… Read more »

BV Buster
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BV Buster

I believe a passive protection system is in fact good old steel armour, a soft kill device still transmits, fires flares or fires smoke and it therefore active. Active protection is just referring to not just waiting to be hit like traditional armour.

I agree with you about the labelling, I think we should have discreet categories of active protection systems, maybe we could coin a phrase here that gets adopted world-wide.

BV

farouk
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farouk

BV wrote:
“I believe a passive protection system is in fact good old steel armour, a soft kill device still transmits, fires flares or fires smoke and it therefore active.”

Oh I agree, my gripe is all about the nomenclature being used in which to attract the purse holder (Civil servants) who know very little about things military, but would see APS coupled with cost as an attractive item. For example Dominic Cummings who I believe would be prefer a SC to a HC based simply on cost when we should be buying both.

BV Buster
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BV Buster

I 100% agree, some of the people making important and far reaching decisions have absolutely no idea what they are looking at. Their thinking will be, “if both systems are designed to stop an ATGM but one is way cheaper, lets get that one!” when the answer should be, lets get both as they compliment each other and are much cheaper than replacing an entire tank and its crew.

BV

Simon m
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Simon m

Is this one of the reasons for delaying CH2 LEP? I am also wondering if they are looking at feedback from other small projects such as street fighter, street fighter 2, other projects such as HAIP may not have fully completed and I think they have also been looking at Rheinmetal’s ROSY. With RBSL merger it is likely both concepts will be examined & hopefully the best combined approach will be taken. It has been recognised by the government that CH2 is at least 2 upgrades behind most other western tanks Afghanistan has highlighted the importance the best kit can… Read more »

BV Buster
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BV Buster

I think streetfighter was useful but a bit of a bodge job (intentionally), some of the modifications were just conceptual and not actually functional but it did bring attention to how a tank could be modified for the OBUA environment. LEP took a while because of the selection of the prime contractor, BAE was offering a cheap and cheerful upgrade, still the base tank but with better sights and other easy to integrate systems, they were counting on the MODs usual tactic of what ever is cheaper wins, a sound strategy. The BAE bid however do nothing to address the… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

Not bad for a Chinese lad of 15, sitting on his mum’s couch! Is there anyone left at BAe who actually knows anything about MBTs and how they should be shaped for the future, I’m not so sure? Having bought out ‎Hägglunds/Bofors and United Defence they seemed to have palmed off armoured fighting vehicles to abroad. Perhaps that’s because our successive Governments haven’t purchased any heavy armour in the last 15 years but focused on MRAPs. In some respects the Black Knight proposal did offer an upgrade that could be offered to the whole fleet and did address obsolesce issues,… Read more »

BV Buster
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BV Buster

Ni hao DaveyB, SPOILER ALERT!!!, this will bore the hell out of 99% of readers, gunnery perverts read on. DaveyB “Is there anyone left at BAe who actually knows anything about MBTs and how they should be shaped for the future, I’m not so sure?” I think they do, the cross pollination from other departments must have had a positive effect on their MBT skills, some of the people I have met from Big And Expensive had not only a great technical knowledge but a good understanding of the tactical use of MBTs. I think, as with most organizations the… Read more »

Steve Martin
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Steve Martin

Cracking read!

Trevor
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Trevor

Tactically (since statregically we would be countering Russian agression) should we not built assault (self-propelled) guns? Irrespective of “bussels” and “turret rings”? If we might fight in dusty Middle East terrorist ridden streets, should we not build Merkeva type vehicle? In the latter case do we not need a howitzer type gun. Indeed why not build it on licence from Israel? In all cases, from Basra to the Polish wastes, armour needs infantry and vice versa. Where do Apache type helicopters come into this? They do not care about rifled or smooth bore… And above all however, should we be… Read more »

BV Buster
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BV Buster

Assault guns certainly do have a number of key advantages such as being able to mount bigger guns, is more efficient with its physical armour, it has a much lower profile and its loading system, manual or automatic, can be much simpler. So why has no other country built a modern Hetzer? The main reason is that they are terrible in the advance, the system worked well with the Swedish S-Tank because it was used in the defensive role. If you look back to WW2, the Germans built a huge amount of Stugs even diverting tank production to facilitate it,… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

Wow, for a Chinese kid that’s not bad. I’m a complete muppet, as I forget about the extra surface area that rifling brings. As the one piece rounds for the smooth-bore are about a metre long, would it not be beneficial for them to be telescopic rounds? There by encasing the whole sabot in propellant. I guess you would need to develop a new chamber to hold thew round. As a person in the know and something I’ve always wondered (sad). How is HESH effected by ERA? I believe ERA can be triggered by the actual shock of being hit,… Read more »

BV Buster
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BV Buster

Telescoping rounds would be beneficial but he entire gun will have to be redesigned, at which point it will stop being the L-55 L-30. Interestingly, if you look at Russian APFSDS rounds, they encase the separate loading projectile in propellent (clearly behind the obturation ring) to give them some extra MV. HESH has enough force to set off ERA, the problem is that most ERA matrixes have an air gap behind them to stop the explosive shockwave from the tile damaging the tank, this will, along with the ERA detonating massively reduce the HESH effect. Can HESH have an effect… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

The smooth-bore version had the same chamber and breech as the rifled version and used the same two part ammo during the trials (according to the blurb at Bovington and the visual similarities between the two).

I guess the air-gap behind the ERA does the same as spaced armour by nullifying the shockwave. I can remmeber watching a few Scorpians firing off HESH at a target, you could actually track the round, bizarre!

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

A smoothbore does make sense, rifled guns are detrimental to APFSDS penetration that’s why they have slipping rings, seems odd to prioritize a secondary nature.

Scorps 76mm had a very low velocity and it was a chunky old round, shame they were withdrawn from service for spurious reasons.

BV

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

It’s a pity the electric armour developed by DSTl couldn’t be implemented onto the Challenger. Though not sure if it’s any good against fin rounds as it was designed to stop HEAT rounds by vaporising the molten jet as it passes between two sheets of armour.

nathan
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nathan

10 years ago now – I wonder how it is coming along?

Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by …
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/7487740/Star-Trek-style-force-field-armour
20/03/2010 · Professor Bryn James, head of Dstl’s armour and protection science and technology centre, said the electric armour had the potential to dramatically decrease

DaveyB
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DaveyB

An interesting development of Challenger 2 for urban warfare.

janes.com/article/93763/ironvision-trialled-on-challenger-2-streetfighter-ii

The inclusion of the .50 cal and Spike ATGM along with the “ironvison” 3D googles area relatively cheap modification. The Spike would be a useful addition to the tank’s armoury, especially with its capability to deal with helicopters and drones.

It seems that the MBT is turning more into a multi-purpose weapons platform much like a “land frigate”. Which can’t be a bad thing, if it proves its flexibility and adaptability to meet current and future threats.

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

I think Streetfighter 2 was an interesting concept but could have been done a bit more elegantly, yes it was done on the cheap, and you can tell, but ripping off stowage bins and plonking in kit that the lads want with no practical use is insane. I believe it was Brimstone not Spike that was poking out of the launcher, a weapon that is useless in urban ops.

BV