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C4iSR: Land

US Army moves out with Modular Active Protection Systems testing

29 October 2018
US soldiers in an M1 Abrams tank compete in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge at the Grafenwoehr training area in Germany, in June 2018. The US Army will field Rafael’s Trophy APS on its Abrams tanks while continuing to develop a long-term APS capability under MAPS. Source: US Army

While the US Army continues onward with plans to equip land vehicles with currently available Active Protection Systems (APS), it is also pressing forward with the development of a longer-term Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) to shoot down incoming threats.

On 29 October, the army’s Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) announced that it had completed a series of four virtual soft-kill demonstrations using MAPS base kit components with “various combinations of vendor-supplied sensors and countermeasures”.

“Through this series of tests, we were able to validate the ability of the MAC [Modular APS Controller] to control various sensors and countermeasures that comply with the MAF [the Modular APS Framework],” said Bill Beyer, the MAPS Virtual Demonstrator lead. “The tests also proved that using a controller built on government- and industry-approved open standards and common interfaces allows integration of disparate components into a full system.”

During the four virtual soft-kill tests, Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) said that the MAC controlled a “unique configuration of sensors and countermeasures” during each test series.

“Each of these demonstrator efforts focused on a different aspect of modularity. The first two tests focused on soft-kill countermeasure modularity while the third and fourth demonstrators showcased cueing sensor modularity,” TARDEC said. “These demonstrations emphasise how, with minimal configuration changes, subsystems that are MAF-compliant can be integrated with one another to accommodate specific platform and mission needs.”

Moving forward, TARDEC is planning to conduct a fifth demonstrator to test “cueing sensor modularity” and determine if the sensors and effectors are adaptable across a range of APS subsystems. Then in December, the service will begin testing MAPS hard-kill capabilities through virtual demonstrations.

Down the road, the service will do further demonstrations where it will layer “a hard-kill on a soft-kill defeat system onto the same platform”, according to Colonel Glenn Dean, the army’s project manager for Stryker Brigade Combat Team and APS acquisition.

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