STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – General Dynamics Land Systems is leading an effort to develop the first North American combat vehicle with a fully integrated Active Protection System (APS).
The company recently concluded a successful Critical Design Review of its APS project. The next major step is to validate a fully integrated APS on a Light Armored Vehicle III (LAVIII) demonstrator, scheduled for later this year.
Active Protection Systems enhance crew protection, survivability and situational awareness against advanced man-portable weapons by intercepting and defeating threats before they reach the vehicle. It is the only technology capable of defeating certain threats without significantly sacrificing vehicle mobility and transportability.
Imagine you are in a HUMMWV, driving down the narrow, hostile, urban streets of Afghanistan, and all of a sudden you’re being bombarded with RPG fire. One RPG round to the lead vehicle strands the rest of the team, leaving them susceptible to an onslaught of small arms fire and additional RPG rounds.
Now imagine your HUMMWV is equipped with Artis’s Iron Curtain (APS). The Iron Curtain disables that same RPG round that was shot at you, and the round bounces off the side of your vehicle like a pebble. Once your HUMMWV has shrugged off the RPG, the CROSSHAIRS (Counter Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Responses) weapon system, including the Boomerang II acoustic gunshot detection system, locates the source of the threat and notifies the trailing vehicles. Your backup now has the ability to pulverize the location. The new Iron Curtain Active Protection system (APS), with funding from DARPA, is a potential game changer in urban battlefields, redefining the term “bulletproof.”
Source: Artis, LLC.
How Iron Curtain Works
(1) A C-band radar detects and tracks an incoming round, alerting the system and switching it from armed-ready to an armed state. (2) At close range, a distributed optical sensor classifies the threat to select aimpoint and determine which countermeasure (CM) to fire. (3) The CM acts straight down, killing the threat with minimal collateral damage to personnel in close proximity.
Iron Curtain has been demonstrated to be effective in field testing on military platforms. In the series below, a live munition is fired at an uparmored HMMWV equipped with Iron Curtain. The threat is tracked, classified and targeted. When the threat is within inches, the countermeasure is deployed, instantly disabling it, deflagrating the warhead without detonating it. The dudded munition bounces off the vehicle side.
Iron Curtain Attributes
• Defeats wide spectrum of threats
• Minimal collateral damage
• Minimal false alarm rate
• 360° coverage
• Low cost, low power and lightweight
• All solid state for ruggedness and reliability
• Being integrated onto MRAP All Terrain Vehicle
The system is low weight, low cost and occupies minimal internal footprint. The countermeasure acts very close to the vehicle resulting in low collateral damage. Using independent sensors – optical and radar – yields a minimal false alarm rate.
Iron Curtain’s ability to classify targets, along with its array of countermeasures, enables it to efficiently address new and emerging threats, usually with nothing more than a software change. With the rapid introduction of new threats this flexibility enables Iron Curtain to be modified in reaction to threat changes and prevents the system from becoming obsolete.
Iron Curtain can be configured to protect almost any surface, from just the sides of a vehicle to all-around protection, including top. Iron Curtain has been tested on an up armored HMMWV, and is currently being integrated onto the MATV. It successfully completed recent OSD sponsored Live Fire Test & Evaluation (LFT&E). Iron Curtain provides more protection than conventional approaches – such as bar armor – and is easier to integrate. It is affordable and will be fully approved and ready for production by the end of calendar year 2012.
Recent News: Iron Curtain Outperforms in Government Testing – April 29, 2013