The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has contracted Leonardo to explore the technology required for the integration of an active protection system (APS) capability for the British Army’s armoured vehicle fleet.
The £10 million Icarus technology demonstrator programme (TDP) will see Leonardo lead a team of UK companies in bringing together the best technology to develop the APS, ahead of a potential introduction of the capability across the army’s vehicle fleet.
Under the proof-of-concept project, a modular, integrated protection system (MIPS) electronic architecture will be established, based upon open system architecture.
Leonardo will use its experience in developing a variety of protection systems to carry out the work, most notably counter-improvised explosive device technology for the army, and integrated defensive aids systems for the UK’s rotorcraft fleet and Eurofighter Typhoon.
Other partners working on the project include BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin UK, Ultra Electronics, Frazer-Nash, the University of Brighton, Abstract Solutions, Roke Manor Research and SCISYS.
Under the TDP, the Leonardo team will demonstrate and evaluate an operational prototype against live fire weapon engagements, showcasing the ability to defeat missile threats within 100 milliseconds, which is half the time it takes a human to react to a visual cue, says Dstl.
The thinking behind the TDP stems from foresight that has concluded that a vehicle’s armour alone will not suffice against threats such as rocket-propelled grenades and antitank guided weapons.
While APS technology already exists, there is no one solution that can defeat all threats − current systems either tackle early threats by trying to decoy, or engage later on with a kinetic effect − so the TDP is looking to explore a single solution that is suited to all scenarios.