Military Review

Elevation: the future of armored vehicle sensors


The modular Battleguard touch unit connects to an infrared front-view system, resulting in a complete system with optional integration of weapon systems

Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have revealed many problems with light armored vehicles. Crews had to regularly act independently on open terrain or in urban conditions, while they had to be able to inflict damage on almost any type of enemy, from fighters hiding behind trees or buildings to opponents protected by fortifications or armor. This variety of operational conditions today requires an increased level of situational awareness, better protection of personnel and high mortality using various weapons. As a result, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, in order to increase their mortality and survivability, are increasingly equipped with new and more powerful weapons systems and sensor systems that allow them to carry out operations without the support of the main combat tanks.

In particular, they need optical-electronic and infrared (OE / IR) systems, which would allow quickly and effectively carry out the search, tracking and identification of enemy targets. At the same time, precise fire control is necessary for its armament and a high level of near situational awareness. These elements are perfectly integrated into a customizable and easily upgraded compact system that can be easily installed on any machine.

However, most of the crews of existing armored combat vehicles (BBM) still monitor and target the target through periscopes, using technological principles that have been in 600 for years. Periscope “windows” protruding above the armor were reduced in size and over time received excellent protection, but this is a double-edged sword, as this, in fact, limits their flexibility.

However, the periscopes were equipped with thermal imagers and received laser range finders, image stabilization and fire control system (SLA), which made it possible to increase the accuracy of the fire and fire in motion in almost any conditions.

Despite the simplicity of the concept, vehicle periscopes remain complex systems with many mechanical and optical parts. Their installation requires drilling large-diameter holes in the armor, they take the vital space in the claustrophobic case, and the modernization is limited to the architecture, volume and parameters of their optical parts.

The appearance of the OE / IR systems on the towers, which are already widely used on military aircraft and ships, promises to change the quality of the review conducted from the inside of armored vehicles. This approach, called the “armor system”, consists of installing compact turrets or stations that provide digital perception instead of direct optical observation.

These systems, as a rule, are completely stabilized, are connected to the displays and controls of the crew inside the machine by means of a fiber-optic cable and not a bulky optical chain. Refusal from periscopes not only frees the developer from the limitations of the hull structure and internal ergonomics, but also allows you to freely place external systems that can optimize the viewing sector and expand the functionality of sensors and transmitters, removing previously existing obstacles to building an integrated vision system.

These stations are modular and can be configured with almost any type of sensor or laser systems available on the market, including missile guidance systems, such as a radio or laser beam. The process of modernization and maintenance of these systems is, in general, more comprehensible and less complicated, since modularity and a higher level of standardization of the seats simplify the integration of sensors of different sizes, while the maintenance is carried out with less intervention in the fixed structure of the machine body.

The electronics and processors are completely enclosed in an optical-electronic sensor unit, which saves space in the machine body. In most cases, the digital output of sensors required for the use of fiber optics also simplifies integration with other sensors, weapons systems and SLA, as well as the transfer of images and video. A large degree of freedom in placing the sensors makes it possible to increase their capabilities in detecting and tracking several targets and to obtain search and impact capabilities by working together with the gunner’s sight or the second viewing station.

An important aspect of the electronic nature of sensors in these systems is the ability to use electronic signal processing to improve image quality and implement functions such as automatic target detection and tracking of several targets, as well as other processing methods that will become available in the future.

Panoramic overview

Some of the systems placed above the armor are able to track targets and simultaneously scan around the car (a full panoramic view in near real time), which increases the level of situational awareness.

Of course, not everything is so smooth, there are several flaws in the systems introduced. For example, a higher silhouette compared with the periscope makes them an attractive target for enemy fire. Today, the highest level of protection of remote systems corresponds to the STANAG 4569 2 level, which does not protect against weapons caliber over 7,62-mm. Of course, users can install multiple stations to increase redundancy, or add armor to the tower, but this leads to an increase in mass and may impair the mobility of the system.

Car crews can also see a problem in the absence of an optical day channel. They say that the optical channel is definitely preferable to a digital camera, as it generally offers a higher resolution and more direct human-machine interface than displays.

Remote systems are currently only beginning to emerge on the market, but their list will definitely expand significantly soon.

The newest position on this list is the L-3 Wescam MX-GCS, presented at IDEX 2015. The two-axis stabilized sighting system is designed for medium- and large-caliber weapons mounted on machines from 20 mm to 120 mm. The basic set of devices includes a high-resolution daytime camera, a cooled mid-wave thermal imager and an eye-safe laser range finder.

L-3 Wescam MX-GCS

Optional devices include a long-range optical pointer, a laser illuminator / pointer, a cooled / uncooled thermal imager, a laser designator and a short-wave imager.

The station has a double configuration for the shooter and the commander, which allows you to use the search and strike mode or conduct firing of weapons independently of each other. As stated in the company L-3 Wescam, the latter function is unique, it increases the combat survivability in case of damage or failure of the main aiming system. The MX-GCS system is still being finalized, but it has already been tested with 30-mm and 105-mm guns.

The universal advanced panoramic sight Paseo from Sagem Defense Securite enhances the survivability and combat capabilities of the BMP and MBT by reducing the target detection time, increasing situational awareness and fire efficiency. The basic configuration includes a mid-wave imager with continuous zoom, a high-resolution daytime color camera, and a laser rangefinder safe for the eyes.

Versatile options

In order to expand the range of tasks performed, Sagem offers a number of options, including a cooled long-wave imager, a ballistic computer, a direction control system, panoramic tracking in scan mode, automatic tracking, and a laser pointer or a laser beam emitter. These options transform the Paseo from an observation observation station into an actual fire guidance and control system, which can be installed on any machine armed with a cannon and / or rockets. The system, which is divided between the commander and the shooter, was shown on the Cockerill 3000 tower at IDEX 2015.

From the very beginning, the aimed stabilized optoelectronic system SEOSS (Stabilized Electro-Optical Sighting System) from the Rheinmetall company was created as a compact, stabilized, digital fire control system for BBM and MBT. It consists of a third-generation 640x512 thermal imager (at the customer’s option, working either in the mid-IR region of the spectrum or in the long-wave IR region of the spectrum), daytime CCD camera, laser range finder, inertial sensor and tracking video device. Rheinmetall claims that SEOSS is already installed on the Piranha IIIC of the Spanish Marine Corps and can be installed and integrated into all types of combat vehicles. The system continues to be offered as part of the MBT Revolution modular upgrade kit.

Opto-electronic station SEOSS on the tower Lance

The system is available in two versions: SEOSS Panoramic, which operates as an independent commander fire monitoring and control system with angles in azimuth 360 ° and a viewing sector in elevation from -15 ° to + 17 °, and SEOSS Sector - an arrow system with a viewing sector ± 7,5 ° on each side of the aiming line.

The day / night commander target targeting and surveillance system COAPS (Commander's Open Architecture Panoramic Sight) from the Israeli company Elbit Systems is a two-axis stabilized sight with additional fire control functions for fixed and mobile platforms. It is synchronized with the main sight of the shooter, which allows you to work in search and impact mode. The structure of the COAPS includes a thermal imager (medium and long wavelengths are offered with a resolution of 640x512 pixels) with continuous zoom, a daytime color CCD camera and a laser rangefinder safe for eyes.

COAPS Targeting and Surveillance System

Raytheon’s independent BattleGuard modular system not only has the full functionality of the commander’s sight, but can also accept various lethal and non-lethal weapons.

It ensures early detection of threats and increases crew protection and machine survivability due to the full-length review on the 360 ° battlefield by a second-generation cooled long-wave thermal imager and a daytime color camera with a built-in rangefinder. The system is capable of accompanying several targets simultaneously, aiming guns and missiles at targets, and can also operate in automatic targeting mode and hitting targets using external target designation commands from onboard and remote sensors.

Battleguard was installed and demonstrated on the Bradley M2 / M3 BMP, the system design allows it to be installed on a wide range of combat vehicles, ranging from MBT to BMP and BTR.

The current list of rendered systems ends with the newest system Janus RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition) from Selex ES. The passive thermal imaging system with panoramic capabilities, designed for round-the-clock work, complements or replaces the commander's sight on the BBM.

Janus consists of a third-generation thermal imager with a full-format video converter matrix, a Superhad color CCD camera with continuous zoom and a laser rangefinder. Above Janus station on LMV car

Janus is a panoramic sensor unit consisting of a mid-wave thermal imager with a matrix of 640x512 pixels and a CCD camera with continuous zoom with an optional rangefinder. The system has a tracking device, and it can synchronize with the main gun when working in search and impact mode.

The Janus system was selected for installation on the Italian multi-purpose BBM Freccia.

Sagem Paseo is available in land and sea.


Based on the defense spending forecast, it is expected that the global market for search-tracking systems and fire control systems for ground vehicles will reach 42 billions of dollars in the 2015 year and up to 2024 will increase by 0,9% per year. 16,8 billion dollars (40%) of this multi-billion dollar market in the future may be taken out of the system.

The removed systems will initially find application in the BMP segment (the volume of which is of the order of 12,5 billion dollars), and later can penetrate the MBT market. A general analysis of the world market shows that the greatest opportunities are likely to appear on the American continent with the largest share of the United States, while Eastern Europe (including the Russian Federation), developing modern armored forces, will take the second place.

Western and Central Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe will also contribute, although much of the combat vehicles in these regions have been relatively recently purchased or upgraded.

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  1. SPACE
    SPACE 4 September 2015 06: 41 New
    The current article, the development of weapons of the battlefield is going in the right direction. That is precisely the future for such machines ...
    1. Devildog85
      Devildog85 4 September 2015 10: 49 New
      IMHO regular quadrocopters would be the most
      1. prosto_rgb
        prosto_rgb 4 September 2015 13: 16 New
        Quote: DevilDog85
        IMHO regular quadrocopters would be the most

        Not all at once.
        They will come to this soon.
  2. Vega
    Vega 4 September 2015 11: 41 New
    The system is good, necessary, but judging by the review of the Western military press there is a very big minus, namely, a very high sensitivity to extraneous electromagnetic radiation, even of medium power.
  3. Denis_469
    Denis_469 4 September 2015 12: 25 New
    Interestingly - do those who come up with all these electronic eyes have a mind? It never occurred to them that in a real battle every 5th 152 mm projectile fired from a gun would be an EMP projectile that would burn all this electronics? What are they going to watch after a close explosion of an electromagnetic projectile?
    1. Aleksandr72
      Aleksandr72 4 September 2015 17: 34 New
      The amazing effect of the electromagnetic pulse in my opinion is greatly exaggerated.
      As you know, EMR is a disturbance of the electromagnetic field that affects any material object located in the zone of its action. This is not only the damaging factor of nuclear weapons, as well as any other sources of electromagnetic radiation, for example: lightning, electric arc welding, short circuits in high-power electrical equipment, etc. The striking effect of electromagnetic radiation is caused by the appearance of induced voltages and currents in various conductors. The action of EMP is manifested primarily in relation to electrical and electronic equipment. Protection from EMP is achieved by shielding the power supply lines and equipment.
      Even the electrical equipment of modern cars is shielded and insignificant to EMP, the action of which for a short time and at best temporarily disables this equipment. Or your car at least once spontaneously stalled from a close lightning strike into a strong thunderstorm (we won’t consider a direct lightning strike - this is force majeure and it is unlikely that the army EMP is designed to directly hit the enemy’s electronic equipment carrier, then it’s better to do a good old mine!), in extreme cases, interference in the operation of the car radio. Or do you think that the military will adopt very vulnerable (and expensive!) Weapons, without providing them with appropriate protection.
      1. Denis_469
        Denis_469 4 September 2015 19: 20 New
        Quote: Aleksandr72
        Or do you think that the military will adopt very vulnerable (and expensive!) Weapons, without providing them with appropriate protection.

        I believe that EMR tests have shown that mechanics is the only defense against EMR. And that is not always the case. There was once an experiment when a minefield of pressurized mines was fired at by 152-mm and 130-mm electromagnetic radiation projectiles from anti-aircraft guns. Then a tank column passed through the minefield. Right by mine. And at least 1 worked. And half an hour later, after the shelling, the mines again became combat-ready and fired from everything. Even from flying leaves.
        There is no such electronics that are able to withstand the close gap of the EMP projectile. If my memory serves me right, then the 130-mm anti-aircraft EMP projectile had a radius of 8 meters of the ammunition stockpile of the fired aircraft. Those. in an explosion 8 meters or closer to the plane, the self-exploded shells, missiles and bombs that it carried. A plane crashed during an explosion a few tens of meters from it.
        Shelling an EMP tank column with shells led to the failure of all equipment due to the impact of a pulse through the air intakes of the engines and the failure of the power supply of the equipment. In general, a 130 mm EMI projectile is capable of incapacitating a tank at a distance of up to 30 meters from the site of the projectile explosion. If he will be in direct line of sight and is not shielded from the point of explosion. I mean if it’s not behind a hill, a hill or a reinforced concrete house.

        With a direct hit of an EMP projectile in a tank, that vehicle will explode (self-explode) the entire transportable ammunition of shells and missiles.
      2. avdkrd
        avdkrd 4 September 2015 19: 23 New
        Quote: Aleksandr72
        Even the electrical equipment of modern cars is shielded and insignificant to EMP, the action of which for a short time and at best temporarily disables this equipment.

        not so simple. The density of the field depends on the distance to the source (simply, if lightning strikes your car, something will still burn). Explosive magnetic generators form an electromagnetic pulse comparable to the EMP from a nuclear explosion, and lightning has an EMP an order of magnitude smaller. Of course, even sufficiently powerful ammunition within the framework of artillery calibers create a zone of destruction of only a few tens of meters. The price of shells is not more than that of conventional shells of the same caliber, and serious protective measures are needed. In BTT equipped with anti-nuclear protection, this issue is resolved, but at the moment it is not a fact that even our main tank t 90 is equipped with it (in the USSR, all equipment was equipped). NATO countries have the same priorities and far from all equipment is protected by atomic protection.
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 4 September 2015 17: 42 New
      Quote: Denis_469
      Interestingly - do those who come up with all these electronic eyes have a mind? It never occurred to them that in a real battle every 5th 152 mm projectile fired from a gun would be an EMP projectile that would burn all this electronics?

      And why such difficulties?

      Conventional fragmentation shells with remote detonation - and the entire front / upper projection of the armored vehicles will be carefully processed by the GGE. If you reserve the outer head and the glass of optics based on the protection against them, then how much will such a protected outer part of the system weigh?

      All these Pribluda are needed in all kinds of anti-terrorist operation and low-intensity conflicts, when the enemy has no artillery. This, however, is directly written in the article:
      operations in Afghanistan and Iraq revealed many problems in light armored vehicles. Crews had to regularly act independently on open terrain or in urban conditions, while they had to be able to inflict damage on almost any type of enemy, from fighters hiding behind trees or buildings to opponents protected by fortifications or armor.
      1. cosmos111
        cosmos111 4 September 2015 20: 49 New
        Quote: Alexey RA
        All these stray are needed in all kinds of ATO and low-intensity conflicts

        against the Papuans with AK and DShK ...

        if there is anti-tank systems, this changes the situation, and radically ...

        Yemen rebel attack on saudi technique
  4. Samy
    Samy 4 September 2015 17: 04 New
    And when a bullet or projectile hits optical elements, the machine will not remain blind?
  5. kplayer
    kplayer 4 September 2015 19: 15 New
    Quote: Denis_469
    ... in a real battle, every 5th 152 mm projectile fired from cannons will be an EMP projectile ...

    - Air shake. And yet in real battleor something there will in the near, distant future? somehow it wouldn’t hurt, so you can raise the topic of electromagnetic anti-aircraft missiles with remote detonation, and packs of planes and helicopters lying around from the sky, as a result - a return to stone axes (exaggerate). If not already real experience of combat use, it’s not worth it to promise, I foresee it will not happen soon. An experiment is possible of course, for example, in relation to the encircled enemy grouping, but not in real battle, and no one has yet canceled the usual triplexes of MBT and BBM (- to the question: what are they going to watch?) Here is the usual OFS, especially the 152 mm one, with close break, including with an air blast, causes considerable damage and disables these same optoelectronic systems (ECO), incl. outdoor antennas for radio engineering and radar systems, not to mention UAN and cluster missile launchers of MLRS, covering significant areas.
    Actually speaking about artillery, the same PAN (advanced artillery observer) AR / AIR (artillery instrumental reconnaissance) machines are equipped with optoelectronic systems, both mounted on a telescopic PMU (lifting mast), and on an external tripod, guiding the artillery with them has priority over ground reconnaissance radars, as The ECOs are not detected by the enemy’s RTR (radio-technical reconnaissance), the RTR stations detect the coordinates of the operating radars and issue targets to suppress them.
    Optoelectronic complexes, including a thermal imaging and / or low-level TV camera, a laser-assisted laser rangefinder, a target range finder, are equipped with most modern MBTs and other BBM, incl. BRM units of military intelligence, as well as combat helicopters (set on a gyro-stabilized platform). Those. these BM after such statements, apparently, will begin to withdraw from service, and much more?

    Comrade Vega writes about electromagnetic radiation (but not about a powerful EMP pulse), known and used as one of the electronic warfare systems, for the production of radio frequency interference that negatively affects radio communication and radar, but not optoelectronic devices.

    PS: That's right, journalists and bloggers, "carriers of the ultimate truth", read, and begin to move indecent.
    1. Denis_469
      Denis_469 4 September 2015 19: 26 New
      Quote: kplayer
      - Air shake. And yet in a real battle, or something there will be in the near, distant future?

      No, not a shock of air EMP projectiles for 13-mm and 152-mm anti-aircraft guns were created back in the USSR. And then the same tests, that through the air, that through the earth. For this reason, before the collapse of the USSR, 130-mm anti-aircraft guns were in service in the air defense units.

      Quote: kplayer
      PS: That's right, journalists and bloggers, "carriers of the ultimate truth", read, and begin to move indecent.

      No, it is not. It’s just that our military, due to their natural, as it were softer to say, mental inadequacy, just don’t know what was created back in the USSR and can now be in warehouses.
  6. kplayer
    kplayer 4 September 2015 20: 59 New
    Quote: Denis_469
    ... 130-mm anti-aircraft guns were in service in the air defense units.

    Why not? if the 130-mm guns are armed with surface ships and naval coastal defense units. In addition, being in reserve and in storage also means a state of armament, no one has canceled the mass mobilization, the possibility of carrying it out remains to this day.
    In general, the whole question is about efficiency, it is doubtful that it is higher than traditional missile and artillery weapons, excuse me. It is likely that in due time the tests gave the corresponding results.
    But after all, a weapon, say, even with a 50% result remains a weapon (there is no absolute weapon, I do not consider WMD), here about the possible storage in certain warehouses.
    CTABEP 5 September 2015 10: 06 New
    After reading about electromagnetic shells, 8 meters causing the detonation of ammunition, disconnecting mines and knocking everyone down and laughing for a long time. And can pruflinki for all these joys?
    PS and if on the topic of the article - no one calls for abandoning the classic means of review, this is just a nice additional tool, albeit an expensive one, but if thanks to it you discover the enemy first and first shoot - the price of this tool will be your life. So, quite yourself.
  8. Denis_469
    Denis_469 5 September 2015 13: 18 New
    Quote: CTABEP
    And can pruflinki for all these joys?

    Can. Google to help. I hope that you are not banned there.
    1. CTABEP
      CTABEP 5 September 2015 14: 11 New
      An excellent answer, but alas, there is not a single normal confirmation there. So, by.