Iveco DV Light Multirole Vehicle armored vehicle equipped with ADS active protection system. Systems of this type protect light vehicles from cumulative projectiles and at the same time produce an unexpected side effect - raise the morale of soldiers who become more effective in carrying out their tasks
To date, very few countries have adopted active protection complexes. This is mainly due to legal problems and public perception of possible indirect losses. Although reducing indirect casualties remains one of the main concerns of many military structures, they will never disappear, especially in asymmetrical warfare, in which the enemy dissolves among the local population in order to use any civilian casualties as food for media propaganda.
Counter-propaganda is perhaps the first enemy of active defense complexes (KAZ), an enemy that does not give Western armies the right to provide their soldiers - especially those who are sitting in light armored vehicles - with significantly higher levels of protection.
While grenade-type systems can be a cause of justifiable concern, at least when used in an asymmetric scenario, the criticism of the systems used on lightweight machines is less well understood. These systems are mainly based on explosive modules, which in most cases neutralize the attacking warhead, but are potentially considered to be the cause of major indirect losses.
When it comes to neutralizing threats, each theoretical calculation is based on statistics - a science in which 100% refers only to the ideal world. More specifically, however, the detonation of the shaped charge on the armor plate undoubtedly also creates a dense cloud of fragments outside the car, especially when ceramic armor is involved. Ironically, the lethal distance determined by flying fragments of ceramic armor can be quite comparable to the lethal distance determined by the impact of the attacking projectile on the explosive module. The problem here is the lack of a solid rule. In some cases, a reactive anti-tank grenade that works perfectly, in other words, “making its hole” in the armor, can generate a small lethal “bubble”. On the other hand, in many cases, this “bubble” will increase significantly, if a warhead striking a machine carries a greater explosive charge, and if the ammunition load of this machine detonates, the lethal distance will increase proportionally, according to the most underestimated estimates to 10 meters along the radius. Besides, this is not a rare event. So, is it preferable for Western society to have more dead and wounded (including their own soldiers) or the same number of indirect losses, but inflicted by the enemy? In most cases, public opinion (and lawmakers of public opinion) of the West will accuse their own armed forces of not providing their soldiers with adequate protection when too much cargo of 200 will be flown to their homeland.
During the operation “Protective Edge” in the summer of 2014, the KAZ Trophy of the company Rafael credited more than 20 successful hits
KAZ Trophy LV mounted on the Hatehof armored car. In the top photo, close-up of short-range and long-range sensors, it is also worth noting the relatively simple installation of the complex on the machine
Trophy LV active protection complex on MATsh armored car by Oshkosh Defense
Some manufacturers of vehicles now indicate that active protection complexes can be a factor in changing the rules of the game, since the psychological state of the crews of vehicles is significantly improved and a feeling of better security appears. As a result, the maneuver becomes more offensive, fast and, as a result, the chances of getting the enemy off guard increase. Reducing the time required to achieve the goal also reduces the time spent in the zone of impact of weapons. This is important even for those armies that conduct defensive operations, since defense, one way or another, entails the interception of the initiative at the right time.
From conversations with system manufacturers it becomes clear that if the grenade launcher protection system seems to be more dangerous than complexes based on dynamic protection units, this assumption basically comes from the fact that it moves the threat interception point from the car by tens of meters. However, according to the available data, the “dangerous cloud” created by the grenade complex has a radius of two to four meters, which is undoubtedly less than the lethal radius created by the machine, which explodes when a shaped charge creates secondary detonations. And again, it all comes down to statistics. The same applies to passive RPG protection systems, such as trellis screens. At best, they guarantee protection at the 60-70% level, but according to users of active protection complexes (unlike their manufacturers praising their “100% reliable systems”), the latter have already reached the threshold of successful destruction of threats more than 80% and its further prediction boost
Increasing the levels of protection of the front and sides is of course important, but the need to increase the protection of the bottom of vehicles, including the bottom, has increased to such an extent that active systems are also being developed to protect the underside of the cars. Machine manufacturers are closely following the improvements in this area, as they reduce not only the probability of penetration, but also the height to which the machine flies into the air, which is often the main cause of injuries and injuries during a mine explosion. “A five-ton armored vehicle with a level of protection Level 4b is a dream today, but in about five years it will become a reality,” said the chief designer of one of the well-known companies producing combat vehicles.
At the MSPO exhibition, the BMP model was presented, which showed the main components of the new Polish KAZ (in the photo on the right, the same 8x8 model from above). The program is implemented by the Military Technical Academy in cooperation with industry.
With no doubt
There is one public opinion that definitely will not blame active defense complexes for anything - Israeli. Rafael Trophy’s KAZ was widely used during Operation Protective Edge and, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, chalked up “over 20 successful interceptions.” The system has already been tested in combat, but after this operation, Israel began to trust this complex even more and, as a result, the ministry is currently discussing a contract with Rafael to install the KAZ Trophy HV on the Namer infantry fighting vehicle and, possibly, on other vehicles. According to some reports, the Israeli infantry worked in the immediate vicinity of the main combat-equipped KAZ Trophy tanks (MBT). The infantry, in addition, insisted on the presence of tanks in urban scenarios, since the Trophy complex’s enemy fire detection radar allows the transfer of enemy positions to all units through the battle control system. The level of threats in the Gaza Strip was high even for tanks; various sources indicate not only that the Palestinians have numerous RPGs with a tandem warhead, but also Russian Cornet systems and even North Korean anti-tank missiles. The re-emergence of symmetrical military operations in this region cannot be ruled out, and then kinetic threats can come into play. According to representatives of industrial enterprises producing active defense complexes and reservation systems, only KAZ can at the moment break the vicious circle of "increased protection - a significant increase in the weight of the combat vehicle." For example, the mass of additional armor needed to protect the main projections of a modern main battle tank from a 125-mm armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectile is estimated at about seven tons.
At the MSPO 2014 exhibition, the Polish Military Technical Academy presented a model of the active protection complex. The theoretical part, apparently, was developed by the Military Institute of Defense Technologies, and the KAZ implements the practical implementation of this consortium, which includes Polski Holding Obronny, PCO and Mesko SA companies. Although the consortium does not specifically cover this system, it is quite obvious that PCO will provide optocouplers sensors, Mesko will develop actuators, while PHO may be a system integrator. When the system reaches technological maturity, it will be transferred to mass production.
The system, which has not yet received the designation, is based on a dual sensor that provides detection and neutralization of threats in order to maximize the probability of damage. The unit with two sensors includes an ultraviolet optocoupler sensor for detecting a jet stream during a missile launch and a CCD video camera, while a short-range radar station selects targets at distances 40, 30 and 20 meters necessary for the correct activation of the striking element. Judging from the pictures presented at the stand of the Military Technical Academy, radar and opto-sensors are also used to classify threats. As for the interception system, it is a double-barreled grenade launcher for firing a fragmentation grenade, which must destroy the attacking anti-tank missiles on approach, and in the long term destroy or destabilize the tank shells. The complex has a “last frontier” in case grenades cannot neutralize a threat or when using short-range weapons, such as an RPG. It is a container with elongated shaped charges that will destroy the target immediately before the strike. According to available information, all developed components were tested separately at different ranges and then in a single system at the test site; there the system demonstrated an efficiency of approximately 80%. Judging by the drawings and the layout, the system should consist of one circular sensor opto-sensor unit mounted on the tower roof, four antennas on the sides of the tower and 10 blocks of dynamic protection, four on the sides and two on the front plate in front of the tower, although one more was presented scheme: eight containers, two on the sides, two in front and two behind. Polish consortium of information regarding the future of this KAZ does not.
Values of the correlation function of a reactive anti-tank grenade, recorded by the radar Polish KAZ
Artis is promoting its Iron Curtain system in the US and abroad after successful tests conducted by BAE Systems
After a long process, as a result of which the required level of security was achieved, ADS GmbH has now begun production and supplies to the launch customer of its KAZ Active Defense System. The contract was signed in September 2013, and the company does not provide any more details. The system is based on warning devices that constantly monitor the area around the machine until the threat is detected, issue data to the central processor, which analyzes and evaluates the threat. If the threat is assessed as serious, then the system activates optical-electronic sensors that “inspect” the relevant sector. Next, the system, comparing all the available information, selects the corresponding executive element and activates it at the required time. Executive elements are containers with explosives that create enough energy to neutralize the attacking projectile, usually cumulative. The current version of the system can not fight with kinetic shells, although in the future the system will be able to cope with them, provided that the main armor is enough to withstand the impact of the deflected projectile.
A close-up of the three components of the Airbus D&S Muss system: an infrared silencer at the top, sensor blocks on the sides of the tower and a grenade launcher
ADS (74% owned by Rheinmetall, the remaining 26% from Friedrich-Ulf Deisenroth) was one of the first in Europe to develop an active protection system. In the photo KAZ installed on the cab of the truck MAN
The company offers its ADS system in two configurations. The first, which received the designation CAB, protects the cabins of light vehicles and trucks from RPG-type weapons. The second under the designation HAT is designed for installation on the hull and turret; it provides all-round protection on 360 ° against anti-tank guided and unguided missiles. According to a representative from ADS GmbH, the solution delivered to the launch customer "is an improved integrated concept that cannot yet be disclosed." This improved version seems to be designed for medium and heavy machines, as light machines provide less room for improvement. Recently, one or two more customers have appeared, which are scheduled to begin delivery in 2016. The company received a certificate for its system in several countries that wished to carry out this procedure. The ADS system allows you to integrate with other subsystems of the machine. For example, data from ADS system sensors allow activating optical-electronic countermeasure complexes, including smoke grenade launchers, or directing remotely controlled combat modules at targets.
Artis from the United States is actively promoting its KAZ Iron Curtain, which intercepts such threats as RPGs a few inches from the car. The Iron Curtain complex uses two independent sensors, an optical and radar, high-performance computing unit that controls anti-skids in order to minimize the frequency of false alarms and maximize the efficiency and reliability of the system. The radar for this complex was developed by the American company L-3 Mustang Technology. The KAZ Iron Curtain passed a two-year safety test, after which the Combined Arms Safety Council approved its configuration. Then, BAE Systems, as a demonstration sample, installed this system on a combat vehicle for state tests, which were very successful. According to Artis, interest in the KAZ Iron Curtain is growing in many countries and the countries of the Middle East and Northern Europe are paying special attention to it.
Currently, the German Bundeswehr has chosen an optical-electronic countermeasures complex (KOEP) to be installed on its new Puma infantry fighting vehicles. The complex, developed by Airbus Defense & Space, received the designation Muss (Multifunctional Self-Protection System - multifunctional self-protection system). It includes two different types of actuators and four hybrid sensor heads, designated MSH. Sensor units, which include missile attack and laser warning sensors, are installed on the four sides of the Puma tower. The first actuator, the MJH infrared jammer, mounted on the turret roof, generates false infrared signals so that infrared-guided anti-tank missiles “get confused” as the targeting unit “sees” the missile in the wrong place and generates incorrect guidance signals. The second actuator is the RiWA smoke screen; four-tube launchers of this system are installed on the sides of the Puma BMP turret.
The MSH missile warning device operates in the ultraviolet spectrum insensitive to sunlight. It determines the ultraviolet component of the rocket's jet stream, while the laser detector searches for radiation from laser-guided systems. When a potential threat is detected, data on it is issued to the central processing unit (MCE), which processes and provides information to the appropriate subsystem. It can go to the electronic unit MJH, MSH, or the electronic unit RiWA, MCE, or both. Ultimately, either infrared pulses are generated, or grenades of a multispectral smoke screen are launched. These smoke grenades were developed by BuckNeue Technologien, now part of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition. They allow you to close the car from the guidance systems of most missiles operating in the visible and infrared spectra. Naturally, opto-electronic countermeasure systems are useless in the case of unguided weapons, such as RPGs.
Sometimes decisions are based on a combination of two different systems. Two systems can be cited as an example, the purpose of which is to minimize the impact of an explosion under the bottom: VGAM (Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation) developed by the British company Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems (ABBS) and the Zero Shock System developed by the German Drehtainer. The first system does not allow the car to leave the ground, and the second minimizes the effect on passengers of acceleration and bottom deformation.
It so happened that these two companies met at the last Eurosatory exhibition and, after a brief discussion, concluded a cooperation agreement in 2014 in August, since the two systems complement each other perfectly. The Zero Schock system works at the initial moment of the explosion, from less than 0,5 milliseconds to 5-10 milliseconds, while the VGAM system starts to work effectively when the car actually seeks to “take off”, approximately 10 milliseconds after the explosion.
Drehtainer's Zero Shock system is based on a second bottom that is suspended on steel cables inside a vehicle or security module; the second bottom is placed in 200 mm from the armored bottom, which is quite enough to eliminate the influence of the deformation of the main bottom on it. In the event of an explosion, the sensors activate ejectors as in an airbag, which have a reaction time of less than 0,4 milliseconds, after which the bottom “floats” for a sufficient time to significantly reduce accelerations. According to the company Drehtainer, the forces acting on the bottom make up only 20% of the forces allowed by the NATO standards STANAG, which allows, therefore, not only to avoid injuries, but also to install the seats directly on the bottom itself, rather than hanging them to the walls. The system has been tested in Germany, Great Britain and Canadian military centers; The Netherlands tested the M113 armored personnel carrier, equipped with a second bottom, undermining an anti-tank mine under it.
After the ABBS system has worked, the VGAM system starts to work, based on innovative high-speed jet engines that seek to reduce the acceleration of the machine upwards. These small jet engines are so powerful that they can create a very large impulse during those same 20-30 milliseconds, when most of the mine explosions create lift forces. According to ABBS, a single VGAM engine can develop a 50000 kg thrust force in the 20-30 interval in milliseconds. Thus, four of these engines, installed on a light machine, at the right time create forces opposing 200 tons. In order to avoid bottom deformation, ABBS has developed a VAFS (Vehicle Armored Floor Stabilization) system that reduces or eliminates bottom deformation. Due to the combination of the two systems, both companies must overcome the weaknesses of their products.
The graph shows the mutually reinforcing effect of the two systems Zero Schock and AMPS (aka VGAM), limiting the effects of a mine under the bottom
Footage of the animated presentation of the work of the system ABDS from the company Tencate. ABDS prevents the vehicle from accelerating upwards as shown on the frame on the right. Despite the fact that the M-113 BTR on the left is no longer to be seen the next day, its crew on the other hand has good chances for survival
Currently, the Drehtainer Zero Shock system is already in service in the Swiss army, and soon it will go into service with the German Bundeswehr; In addition, several European armored vehicle manufacturers are testing this system. ABBS's AMPS system is currently undergoing extensive testing and will be available for testing on customers' machines in 2016.
Tencate Advanced Armor developed an active anti-explosion protection system ABDS (Active Blast Defense System) in cooperation with the Danish company ABDS A / S. Development began in 2010, and in March 2011, the first tests were conducted. At the end of 2011, Tencate acquired all ABDS A / S shares, giving birth to TenCate Active Protection ApS.
After the signing of a joint cooperation agreement, the acceptance tests within the framework of a multi-year program the company conducts research projects with the US Command. They pass "in a light car from the presence of the American army." The company is very reluctant to share information about the principles of its system. It is only known that ABDS is based on two moving masses, which are accelerated downward in order to reduce vehicle acceleration upwards, and, as a result, to reduce the amount of blast energy transmitted to passengers. The system is installed under the bottom of the machine and includes a specially created system for launching and activating TAS (Trigger and Activation System). It issues stable, safe, high-speed automatic commands to activate proprietary countermeasures and an accurate programmable structural and biomechanical response mode. An extensive test series was conducted, including tests on the M15 113-ton BTR. According to TenCate, the ABDS system can increase mine protection up to the 5 and 6 Levels; It can be installed on a wide range of light, medium and heavy platforms.
In Europe, Germany and the Netherlands started cooperation with TenCate, which is also in talks with other countries that want to test its ABDS system on their machines.
Animated presentation of the work of the system ABDS from the company Tencate