Northrop Grumman demonstrated the advanced vehicle APS technologies against ATGMs during the US Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) sponsored Soft Kill Rodeo.
The month-long government sponsored 'rodeo' was developed to demonstrate and test soft-kill capability against real world threats. Using its Passive Infrared Cueing Sensors system, Northrop Grumman successfully generated threat warning of inbound ATGMs and provided a cue for the soft kill countermeasure system (SKCM).
Mike Meaney, vice president, advanced missions at Northrop Grumman, said, "This solution is an example of leveraging significant investment in aircraft protection to rapidly provide similar capabilities to ground vehicles."
APSs are designed to prevent line-of-sight guided anti-tank missiles/projectiles from acquiring and/or destroying a target and include both 'soft' and 'hard' kill systems:
- 'Soft' kill systems: Divided into on-board and expendable countermeasures broken down into two 'pre-emptive action' directed to generally prevent lock-on of a threat sensor, altering the signature of the target by either concealing the platform signature or enhancing the signature of the background. 'Reactive action' countermeasures focus on breaking the lock of a threat already homing in on a certain target and focuses on signature limitation, augmentation, or reduction.
- 'Hard' kill systems: Focuses on physically intercepting an incoming warhead/missile through the use of either blast and/or fragmentation action resulting in a number of different results, including:
- Disturbing the stability of a kinetic energy penetrator to decrease the penetration capacity as the deflection angle increases.
- Premature initiation of a 'shaped charge' system, impeding the optimum jet development of the metallic penetrator lining of a shaped charge.
- Destruction of the air frame of an inbound missile and/or shell.
The Northrop Grumman SKCM system, known as the Multifunction Electro-Optical System (MEOS), successfully countered the ATGM and defeated it in real-time. The MEOS identified and countered all types of threats fired at its APS, making this the fourth consecutive time the system has performed well in field tests to defeat threats.
"We look forward to working with the Army to deploy an affordable end-to-end vehicle APS system that can defeat a variety of anti-tank guided munitions," Meaney added.
Northrop Grumman is a global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernisation to customers worldwide.