• Ed L

    interesting article

  • Cary

    The US is “somewhat lagging” in active protection systems? Israel has had them for six years. We haven’t even selected one yet. Get on with it, or license the Israeli Trophy system!

    • B.J. Blazkowicz

      Military contractors have a huge NIH complex. So that’s not happening.

  • Curtis Conway

    “Active Protection Systems have been in the design and development stages since the early 1950s, but none have successfully made the transition from development to integration on a platform.”
    This is true within the United States. There are several countries overseas that have fielded very effective systems including the Russians, our Allie in South Korea, and some others are discussed in this report. The system that has captured the imagination of the US Army & Marine Corps is the Israeli Trophy Active Protection System (also known as ASPRO-A, Israel Defense Forces designation מעיל רוח) for the Merkava Tank, and its Armored Personnel carrier version, the Namer IFV. This report is based primarily on the Joint US Army/Marine program to piggyback on, and future efforts to, further improve that configuration. The best Israeli APS model for armored protection is Iron Fist that first creates an umbrella of sensors that detect and counter with soft measures, as the determination is made to use the hard measure if soft measures are ineffective. That active Iron Fist system’s hard kill measure is a rock solid reliable protection system (APS). This is where the follow-on to the Trophy NDI will go as development of this system matures in the future.

    The resultant US construct that comes out of this Non Developmental Item (NDI) test should result in a standard modification to any armored vehicle coming out of rebuild at the various repair and upgrade activities performed by Anniston Army Depot in Alabama and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Ohio, and other activities involved in the rebuild of the M2/M3 Bradley IFV by Red River Army Depot in Texas, Lima, Ohio; York, PA; Aiken, SC; and Elgin, OK, and the M109A7 Paladin PIM program. However, the thinnest armored vehicle with many lives in it that should receive this defensive system is the M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV). However, amphibious vehicles will provide unique problems due to weight limitations that enable buoyancy like the Stryker and the Marine Corps LAVs.

    The MAPS discussed: “The Army describes MAPS as a sort of a “house hold electrical system” that can accommodate a variety of appliances and technologies—both current and future—without having to be rewired or upgraded every time a new component is installed.” . . . had better be able to utilize the new digital backbone wiring upgrades being installed into our current armored vehicles. Adaptations of Trophy/Iron Fist, or systems that function in a similar manner, should utilize this already installed and robust vehicle infrastructure in the future.

    The Marine Corps unique mission set and transportation methods do influence the configuration as pointed out by the author. However, as pointed out in the report, some of these items can be removable, or dismounted for bulk transport aboard ship or aircraft, and reinstalled for employment ashore on the LCAC or SSC (Ship to Shore Connector LCAC replacement).

    Really like the MAPS concept for it looks a lot like the Aegis configuration on the Navy cruisers & destroyers. It should fit well in the newly installed digital backbones of our armored equipment upgrades using COTS compliant equipment. However, that can only happen if the APS system can meet timing requirements for that Fail Safe, last ditch self-defense that will have the highest priority, or the vehicle and its crew will not survive. Perhaps priority, or off-line/independent processing, through optical interfaces with its own UPS would be the best solution for a casualty default for installation and operational method.

    “…some in industry are worried about the possible technical “mismatch” between commercially developed APS and MAPS requirements set by DOD and the Army.” The COTS mandate and Open Architecture requirement guarantees nothing, it just facilitates the development of the solutions to problems. It also provides a huge opportunity for intrusion into, and exploitation of, the system by adversaries. The interconnectivity of our systems, in this new net-centric battle force environment we now live in, must be protected. Part is education of the operators, and then building systems that can be protected, and/or cannot be exploited via intrusion via connectivity for introduction of malicious code. System functionality and reliability risks, for the Fail Safe protective mechanism on the platform, is the primary consideration. This is what OT&E is all about, and I hope they are involved to some extent, even in the inception of this EMERGENT NDI requirement. Things like the shortest cabling possible, least number of connectors, those connectors are drop dead reliable even under the most dire circumstances, and availability of power and control are sacrosanct, are a must.

    The last thing we want is the computer asking us “Would you like to play global thermal nuclear war?” …. Wargames 1983, or some adversary shutting down your systems just as you need them. However, when the system MUST WORK, it simply must be available regardless of circumstances, because the alternative is unthinkable.

    As for employment of the APS systems throughout the forces Active, Guard & Reserve . . . a future goal of turning this into a standard on all applicable platforms should be established. Then we outfit deployable units first, and back-fit others as these units become available, with the NDI system. New construction comes off the line with units installed. Future upgrades will bring the new and deployed systems to the latest level of developed maturity, as the system grows and matures. All forces regardless of type (Active, Guard, Reserve) should receive the modifications.

    As for “How Adaptable Is APS to Other and Future Threats?” . . . the basic macro functions of the Aegis Combat System for the Carrier Strike Group, are represented in a micro level in this armored vehicle construct. Iron Dome comes to mind. Perhaps it is time for the US Armed Forces to adopt a function of every element, unit, force and theater develop a methodology where the individual self-defense mechanisms work together automatically (or individually in degraded default mode) as one joins the net to form an aggregate of overall defense for the unit, force, region, AOR. This concept would start with the individual combat element, and end with BMD. Fill in the blanks. On a fundamental level at the bottom of the construct, an individual unit of infantry in the field should be able to fortify a fixed defensive position that utilizes a stand-alone APS (new Claymore Mine concept) as a protective force. Greater and larger applications of the construct of this technology would protect as small, or large an area as one has equipment, capability, and readily available ammunition. For the US Navy, Directed Energy coupled with last ditch hard kill (Mk15 CIWS), in this construct, would be very advantageous for naval surface combatants.

    Now there is a new Joint DoD construct I could get behind.

    Just my 2Ȼ.