U.S. Army researchers and engineers conducted in the 1st quarter of fiscal year 2019 a sequence of tests known as the Soft Kill (SK) Rodeo to determine which active protection system SK technology currently has the most potential and should be further developed for the Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) Program’s Layered Active Protection Demonstration.
The rodeo was conducted by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center and partner organizations.
Data collected during the SK Rodeo was analyzed and resulted in the recommendation to integrate BAE Systems’ RAVEN countermeasure onto a Bradley Fighting Vehicle for the layered demonstrator scheduled for summer 2019.
The MAPS program has been underway for several years and soon will deliver two primary products: the Modular APS Framework (MAF) and the MAPS Base Kit. The layered demonstrator will be the first physical test to integrate the MAPS Base Kit with MAF- compliant hard kill and soft kill systems into a layered active protection system. It is intended to validate that MAPS products can successfully integrate and control two layers of APS seamlessly.
The SK Rodeo took place at Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Ala. during a six-week period. All of the soft kill technology tested during the rodeo utilized electronic countermeasures to defeat Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs).
ATGMs are widely proliferated, very effective, and among the most dangerous threats faced by modern armored vehicles.
Three systems were tested against live-fired ATGMs. The SK countermeasure systems that were tested were Northrop Grumman’s Multifunction Electro-Optical System (MEOS), BAE Systems’ RAVEN Multifunction Countermeasure (MFCM), and the Color Light Operational Unit for Deflection (CLOUD) developed by Ariel Photonics Group in Israel and modified for use in the United States by Lockheed Martin.
“This event marked a watershed moment for the soft-kill capability area and the MAPS program,” said Jason Morse, Electronic Defeat team leader for the Army research center. “The rodeo proved the high potential of soft kill countermeasures to protect our Soldiers and platforms from broadly proliferated and lethal threats. The rodeo also saw many firsts for the MAPS program: the first field test of the entire MAPS Base Kit; the first full, end-to-end cue, slew and defeat for multiple MAPS APS instantiations; and the first time subsystems from three different vendors were integrated into a single system.”
“We are very pleased with the results of the soft kill rodeo,” said Dustee Hata, test lead with SAIC. “It was a success all the way around. Each of the three systems did what it was supposed to do, which is put missiles on the ground. Whenever we succeed in that it is a good day, and we had a lot of good days. This event was a first-rate demonstration of industry competitors working together to advance SKCM and cueing sensors for the greater good of the Soldier.”
The Combat Capabilities Development Command is scheduled to transition the MAPS Base Kit to Product Manager Vehicle Protection Systems (PdM VPS) in the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 2019 and plans to ramp up soft kill development efforts in fiscal year 2020. Data from the rodeo coupled with information resulting from an upcoming source selection opportunity will be used to determine which technologies will be developed further.