Tagged: german

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Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

0

Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

0

Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

0

Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

0

Rheinmetall intensifies push to enter US Army combat vehicle fleet protection program

UNTERLUESS, Germany — With potential fiscal 2018 funding that would cover the qualification of another Active Protection System for U.S. Army combat vehicles waiting in the wings for congressional approval, Rheinmetall made another push[1] to show the service that it has a ready and working system this week at its Germany-based proving grounds.

The company hosted a number of U.S. Army representatives March 7, firing three rocket propelled grenades (RPG) 7 Vs at its Active Defense System (ADS), a distributed APS configuration — as opposed to a launcher-based APS system — that uses an explosive charge to blast incoming weapons off their paths in extremely close proximity to the vehicle. The explosive cuts at an angle downward on a threat roughly one meter from the hull of the vehicle and disables its main charge, drastically minimizing an explosion.

The U.S. delegation present for the demonstration included Elizabeth Miller, the deputy product manager for the Army’s Vehicle Protection Systems as well as Clifton Boyd, the deputy project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Putting ADS to the test

Rheinmetall took pains to challenge the system in front of the delegation, cluttering the environment around the system, which was positioned on a rig to represent a combat vehicle.

Using old cars and mannequins, the company painted a picture of a crowded urban market place. And while obviously unplanned, the demonstration was performed in a mix of snow and rain, adding to the complexity.

For the demonstration, Rheinmetall crafted a scenario that could occur during combat operations.

Kicking it off, two roadside bombs are detonated in front of and behind a convoy of combat vehicles move through a crowded marketplace, causing the vehicles to come to a halt. A suicide bomber in a car then drives into another car and explodes.

Sign up for our Daily News Roundup
The top Defense News stories of the day
Thanks for signing up!

As the explosion causes mayhem around the convoy, two RPGs are fired, one aimed directly at the ADS system and another at a vehicle behind the rig. The second RPG was meant to demonstrate that the ADS system will only trigger if the RPG is headed directly at the system.

Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System – ROSY – was supposed to deploy, enshrouding the vehicle in thick smoke to deter further RPG attacks, but a small piece of shrapnel from a previous explosion severed a wire connecting the system on the rig and it failed to work.

With the vehicle still visible to the attackers, another RPG is fired at the system.

When the smoke clears, the ADS system’s rig shows clear signs it worked. The only evidence of an RPG attack are small pock marks on one side of the rig and white residue on the other side.

Rheinmetall subsequently demonstrated ROSY using a small Polaris ultralight RZR vehicle equipped with the system. The vehicle drove through the scene deploying smoke. In less than a second, nothing in the area was visible.

Rheinmetall sets sites on U.S.

Over a year ago, the U.S. Army determined it needed to field an interim APS solution for the Abrams tank as well as the Stryker combat vehicle and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The service decided to rapidly assess off-the-shelf APS systems to fulfill an urgent operational need after failing – over a 20 year period – to field APS system.

The U.S. Army program manager for APS has said if more funding became available to qualify another system, ADS would be at the top of the list and came in a close second in a design runoff against Iron Fist.

The Army ultimately selected three different systems: Israeli company Rafael’s Trophy system, which is deployed in the Israeli army, for Abrams; Iron Fist from IMI[2], another Israeli company, for the Bradley; and Herndon, Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain[3] for Stryker.

While the Army has stayed on track with Abrams[4], due to a combination of earlier funding availability and qualifying an already fielded system, it has struggled to stay on schedule with the other two configurations. Iron Curtain is six months behind and Iron Fist is delayed by eight months.

Col. Glenn Dean, who is in charge of the program, told Defense News in a recent interview that Iron Curtain turned out to not be as mature as the service originally envisioned and that there was some “friction on the test range.”

Unlike ADS, Iron Curtain uses a projectile-like countermeasure to defeat threats before they have a chance to explode, and similar to the German system, Iron Curtain takes out incoming threats very close into the vehicle.

With Iron Curtain’s fate potentially uncertain, Rheinmetall has an opportunity to swoop in in if it receives FY-18 government funding to qualify its system with the U.S. Army.

The demonstration comes at an important time, as Congress could potentially pass the FY18 defense budget this month as another continuing resolution comes to an end. That deadline will force Congress to either vote to continue to fund the Defense Department at last year’s levels or finally reach a budget deal.

A growing track record

Rheinmetall believes its testing and demonstrations performed over many years on a variety of combat vehicles makes it ready to step up to the task for the U.S. Army. And it has sold the system to a non-NATO country.

While the company wouldn’t name the country, it has been published publicly that Singapore bought the system for its Leopard tanks.

Rheinmetall has extensively tested the system for the Swedish government as well as for its own country and it has formulated designs for integration onto a wide variety of vehicles to include an eight-wheel drive vehicle similar to the Stryker.

The system has successfully demonstrated it can defeat anti-tank rounds, anti-tank guided missiles and decoy ATRs.

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company’s proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

During tests with the Swedish army, 76 percent of shots left zero residual penetration on the vehicle. The rest of the shots – save 6 percent — left damage measured in millimeters. The remaining 6 percent of the shots were not defeated, resulting in full penetration, according to Dr. Ron Meixner, an engineer at Rheinmetall.

He noted the shots which were not defeated during those tests were due to the detonator being used at the time. The system now has a new detonator that is safer and more reliable and “current trials show that this problem has been eliminated,” Meixner said.

The success rate for residual penetration of less than 20mm is 94 percent, he added.

Additionally, because the system is designed to defeat the incoming threat in close proximity, there is a wider radius around the vehicle where soldiers can operate safely and where civilians can be present without being harmed by collateral damage, Meixner explained.

While one mannequin’s plastic head was found in a pool of mud on the range post-test, its body was still standing and, along with the rest of the mannequins, simply splattered in mud.

For APS systems that defeat threats farther out from the vehicle, the area where soldiers can operate near the vehicle is more limited.

The system’s radar is also capable of weeding through the clutter of a busy urban environment and can precisely distinguish the type of incoming threat so the system can fine-tune its response depending on what kind of projectile is fired at the vehicle, Meixner said.

Rheinmetall has done everything it can to confuse the system’s radar, including building a leaf tosser to send leaves into the air around the system to see if it would throw the system off, but the radar has been able to detect threats appropriately in every scenario the company has thrown at it.

And while many radars turn vehicles into easy targets in an environment where an adversary can detect signals in an electromagnetic environment, the radar in ADS is low-power enough to limit its detection in the spectrum, according to Meixner.

Increasing appetite

APS systems have been in development for roughly 40 years. The Russians first developed a system in the 1970s. But it’s only now that countries including the U.S. Army are getting serious about the capability.

Countries looking for APS now include a number of European countries. Poland, for instance, is serious about procuring something to protect its combat vehicles. Several military representatives also attended the March 7 demonstration from the Spanish army and said they were conducting a study to determine a requirement for APS.

Meixner theorized as to why countries are now just getting on board. “You have, for the first time, an autonomous system on the battlefield that is firing just by the decision the system itself makes, and of course, this is really scary.”

But Meixner equated the ADS system to an airbag, another autonomous system with explosives set up to respond autonomously when a car is in a crash.

Yet Rheinmetall has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of the system. The German government aided in funding safety certification of the system and signals, perhaps, the intension of Germany to ultimately field ADS to its combat vehicles as well.

References

  1. ^ Rheinmetall made another push (www.defensenews.com)
  2. ^ Iron Fist from IMI (www.defensenews.com)
  3. ^ Artis’ Iron Curtain (www.defensenews.com)
  4. ^ stayed on track with Abrams (www.defensenews.com)
0

Rheinmetall intensifies push to enter US Army combat vehicle fleet protection program

UNTERLUESS, Germany — With potential fiscal 2018 funding that would cover the qualification of another Active Protection System for U.S. Army combat vehicles waiting in the wings for congressional approval, Rheinmetall made another push[1] to show the service that it has a ready and working system this week at its Germany-based proving grounds.

The company hosted a number of U.S. Army representatives March 7, firing three rocket propelled grenades (RPG) 7 Vs at its Active Defense System (ADS), a distributed APS configuration — as opposed to a launcher-based APS system — that uses an explosive charge to blast incoming weapons off their paths in extremely close proximity to the vehicle. The explosive cuts at an angle downward on a threat roughly one meter from the hull of the vehicle and disables its main charge, drastically minimizing an explosion.

The U.S. delegation present for the demonstration included Elizabeth Miller, the deputy product manager for the Army’s Vehicle Protection Systems as well as Clifton Boyd, the deputy project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Putting ADS to the test

Rheinmetall took pains to challenge the system in front of the delegation, cluttering the environment around the system, which was positioned on a rig to represent a combat vehicle.

Using old cars and mannequins, the company painted a picture of a crowded urban market place. And while obviously unplanned, the demonstration was performed in a mix of snow and rain, adding to the complexity.

For the demonstration, Rheinmetall crafted a scenario that could occur during combat operations.

Kicking it off, two roadside bombs are detonated in front of and behind a convoy of combat vehicles move through a crowded marketplace, causing the vehicles to come to a halt. A suicide bomber in a car then drives into another car and explodes.

Sign up for our Daily News Roundup
The top Defense News stories of the day
Thanks for signing up!

As the explosion causes mayhem around the convoy, two RPGs are fired, one aimed directly at the ADS system and another at a vehicle behind the rig. The second RPG was meant to demonstrate that the ADS system will only trigger if the RPG is headed directly at the system.

Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System – ROSY – was supposed to deploy, enshrouding the vehicle in thick smoke to deter further RPG attacks, but a small piece of shrapnel from a previous explosion severed a wire connecting the system on the rig and it failed to work.

With the vehicle still visible to the attackers, another RPG is fired at the system.

When the smoke clears, the ADS system’s rig shows clear signs it worked. The only evidence of an RPG attack are small pock marks on one side of the rig and white residue on the other side.

Rheinmetall subsequently demonstrated ROSY using a small Polaris ultralight RZR vehicle equipped with the system. The vehicle drove through the scene deploying smoke. In less than a second, nothing in the area was visible.

Rheinmetall sets sites on U.S.

Over a year ago, the U.S. Army determined it needed to field an interim APS solution for the Abrams tank as well as the Stryker combat vehicle and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The service decided to rapidly assess off-the-shelf APS systems to fulfill an urgent operational need after failing – over a 20 year period – to field APS system.

The U.S. Army program manager for APS has said if more funding became available to qualify another system, ADS would be at the top of the list and came in a close second in a design runoff against Iron Fist.

The Army ultimately selected three different systems: Israeli company Rafael’s Trophy system, which is deployed in the Israeli army, for Abrams; Iron Fist from IMI[2], another Israeli company, for the Bradley; and Herndon, Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain[3] for Stryker.

While the Army has stayed on track with Abrams[4], due to a combination of earlier funding availability and qualifying an already fielded system, it has struggled to stay on schedule with the other two configurations. Iron Curtain is six months behind and Iron Fist is delayed by eight months.

Col. Glenn Dean, who is in charge of the program, told Defense News in a recent interview that Iron Curtain turned out to not be as mature as the service originally envisioned and that there was some “friction on the test range.”

Unlike ADS, Iron Curtain uses a projectile-like countermeasure to defeat threats before they have a chance to explode, and similar to the German system, Iron Curtain takes out incoming threats very close into the vehicle.

With Iron Curtain’s fate potentially uncertain, Rheinmetall has an opportunity to swoop in in if it receives FY-18 government funding to qualify its system with the U.S. Army.

The demonstration comes at an important time, as Congress could potentially pass the FY18 defense budget this month as another continuing resolution comes to an end. That deadline will force Congress to either vote to continue to fund the Defense Department at last year’s levels or finally reach a budget deal.

A growing track record

Rheinmetall believes its testing and demonstrations performed over many years on a variety of combat vehicles makes it ready to step up to the task for the U.S. Army. And it has sold the system to a non-NATO country.

While the company wouldn’t name the country, it has been published publicly that Singapore bought the system for its Leopard tanks.

Rheinmetall has extensively tested the system for the Swedish government as well as for its own country and it has formulated designs for integration onto a wide variety of vehicles to include an eight-wheel drive vehicle similar to the Stryker.

The system has successfully demonstrated it can defeat anti-tank rounds, anti-tank guided missiles and decoy ATRs.

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company’s proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

During tests with the Swedish army, 76 percent of shots left zero residual penetration on the vehicle. The rest of the shots – save 6 percent — left damage measured in millimeters. The remaining 6 percent of the shots were not defeated, resulting in full penetration, according to Dr. Ron Meixner, an engineer at Rheinmetall.

He noted the shots which were not defeated during those tests were due to the detonator being used at the time. The system now has a new detonator that is safer and more reliable and “current trials show that this problem has been eliminated,” Meixner said.

The success rate for residual penetration of less than 20mm is 94 percent, he added.

Additionally, because the system is designed to defeat the incoming threat in close proximity, there is a wider radius around the vehicle where soldiers can operate safely and where civilians can be present without being harmed by collateral damage, Meixner explained.

While one mannequin’s plastic head was found in a pool of mud on the range post-test, its body was still standing and, along with the rest of the mannequins, simply splattered in mud.

For APS systems that defeat threats farther out from the vehicle, the area where soldiers can operate near the vehicle is more limited.

The system’s radar is also capable of weeding through the clutter of a busy urban environment and can precisely distinguish the type of incoming threat so the system can fine-tune its response depending on what kind of projectile is fired at the vehicle, Meixner said.

Rheinmetall has done everything it can to confuse the system’s radar, including building a leaf tosser to send leaves into the air around the system to see if it would throw the system off, but the radar has been able to detect threats appropriately in every scenario the company has thrown at it.

And while many radars turn vehicles into easy targets in an environment where an adversary can detect signals in an electromagnetic environment, the radar in ADS is low-power enough to limit its detection in the spectrum, according to Meixner.

Increasing appetite

APS systems have been in development for roughly 40 years. The Russians first developed a system in the 1970s. But it’s only now that countries including the U.S. Army are getting serious about the capability.

Countries looking for APS now include a number of European countries. Poland, for instance, is serious about procuring something to protect its combat vehicles. Several military representatives also attended the March 7 demonstration from the Spanish army and said they were conducting a study to determine a requirement for APS.

Meixner theorized as to why countries are now just getting on board. “You have, for the first time, an autonomous system on the battlefield that is firing just by the decision the system itself makes, and of course, this is really scary.”

But Meixner equated the ADS system to an airbag, another autonomous system with explosives set up to respond autonomously when a car is in a crash.

Yet Rheinmetall has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of the system. The German government aided in funding safety certification of the system and signals, perhaps, the intension of Germany to ultimately field ADS to its combat vehicles as well.

References

  1. ^ Rheinmetall made another push (www.defensenews.com)
  2. ^ Iron Fist from IMI (www.defensenews.com)
  3. ^ Artis’ Iron Curtain (www.defensenews.com)
  4. ^ stayed on track with Abrams (www.defensenews.com)
0

Rheinmetall intensifies push to enter US Army combat vehicle fleet protection program

UNTERLUESS, Germany — With potential fiscal 2018 funding that would cover the qualification of another Active Protection System for U.S. Army combat vehicles waiting in the wings for congressional approval, Rheinmetall made another push[1] to show the service that it has a ready and working system this week at its Germany-based proving grounds.

The company hosted a number of U.S. Army representatives March 7, firing three rocket propelled grenades (RPG) 7 Vs at its Active Defense System (ADS), a distributed APS configuration — as opposed to a launcher-based APS system — that uses an explosive charge to blast incoming weapons off their paths in extremely close proximity to the vehicle. The explosive cuts at an angle downward on a threat roughly one meter from the hull of the vehicle and disables its main charge, drastically minimizing an explosion.

The U.S. delegation present for the demonstration included Elizabeth Miller, the deputy product manager for the Army’s Vehicle Protection Systems as well as Clifton Boyd, the deputy project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Putting ADS to the test

Rheinmetall took pains to challenge the system in front of the delegation, cluttering the environment around the system, which was positioned on a rig to represent a combat vehicle.

Using old cars and mannequins, the company painted a picture of a crowded urban market place. And while obviously unplanned, the demonstration was performed in a mix of snow and rain, adding to the complexity.

For the demonstration, Rheinmetall crafted a scenario that could occur during combat operations.

Kicking it off, two roadside bombs are detonated in front of and behind a convoy of combat vehicles move through a crowded marketplace, causing the vehicles to come to a halt. A suicide bomber in a car then drives into another car and explodes.

Sign up for our Daily News Roundup
The top Defense News stories of the day
Thanks for signing up!

As the explosion causes mayhem around the convoy, two RPGs are fired, one aimed directly at the ADS system and another at a vehicle behind the rig. The second RPG was meant to demonstrate that the ADS system will only trigger if the RPG is headed directly at the system.

Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System – ROSY – was supposed to deploy, enshrouding the vehicle in thick smoke to deter further RPG attacks, but a small piece of shrapnel from a previous explosion severed a wire connecting the system on the rig and it failed to work.

With the vehicle still visible to the attackers, another RPG is fired at the system.

When the smoke clears, the ADS system’s rig shows clear signs it worked. The only evidence of an RPG attack are small pock marks on one side of the rig and white residue on the other side.

Rheinmetall subsequently demonstrated ROSY using a small Polaris ultralight RZR vehicle equipped with the system. The vehicle drove through the scene deploying smoke. In less than a second, nothing in the area was visible.

Rheinmetall sets sites on U.S.

Over a year ago, the U.S. Army determined it needed to field an interim APS solution for the Abrams tank as well as the Stryker combat vehicle and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The service decided to rapidly assess off-the-shelf APS systems to fulfill an urgent operational need after failing – over a 20 year period – to field APS system.

The U.S. Army program manager for APS has said if more funding became available to qualify another system, ADS would be at the top of the list and came in a close second in a design runoff against Iron Fist.

The Army ultimately selected three different systems: Israeli company Rafael’s Trophy system, which is deployed in the Israeli army, for Abrams; Iron Fist from IMI[2], another Israeli company, for the Bradley; and Herndon, Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain[3] for Stryker.

While the Army has stayed on track with Abrams[4], due to a combination of earlier funding availability and qualifying an already fielded system, it has struggled to stay on schedule with the other two configurations. Iron Curtain is six months behind and Iron Fist is delayed by eight months.

Col. Glenn Dean, who is in charge of the program, told Defense News in a recent interview that Iron Curtain turned out to not be as mature as the service originally envisioned and that there was some “friction on the test range.”

Unlike ADS, Iron Curtain uses a projectile-like countermeasure to defeat threats before they have a chance to explode, and similar to the German system, Iron Curtain takes out incoming threats very close into the vehicle.

With Iron Curtain’s fate potentially uncertain, Rheinmetall has an opportunity to swoop in in if it receives FY-18 government funding to qualify its system with the U.S. Army.

The demonstration comes at an important time, as Congress could potentially pass the FY18 defense budget this month as another continuing resolution comes to an end. That deadline will force Congress to either vote to continue to fund the Defense Department at last year’s levels or finally reach a budget deal.

A growing track record

Rheinmetall believes its testing and demonstrations performed over many years on a variety of combat vehicles makes it ready to step up to the task for the U.S. Army. And it has sold the system to a non-NATO country.

While the company wouldn’t name the country, it has been published publicly that Singapore bought the system for its Leopard tanks.

Rheinmetall has extensively tested the system for the Swedish government as well as for its own country and it has formulated designs for integration onto a wide variety of vehicles to include an eight-wheel drive vehicle similar to the Stryker.

The system has successfully demonstrated it can defeat anti-tank rounds, anti-tank guided missiles and decoy ATRs.

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company’s proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

During tests with the Swedish army, 76 percent of shots left zero residual penetration on the vehicle. The rest of the shots – save 6 percent — left damage measured in millimeters. The remaining 6 percent of the shots were not defeated, resulting in full penetration, according to Dr. Ron Meixner, an engineer at Rheinmetall.

He noted the shots which were not defeated during those tests were due to the detonator being used at the time. The system now has a new detonator that is safer and more reliable and “current trials show that this problem has been eliminated,” Meixner said.

The success rate for residual penetration of less than 20mm is 94 percent, he added.

Additionally, because the system is designed to defeat the incoming threat in close proximity, there is a wider radius around the vehicle where soldiers can operate safely and where civilians can be present without being harmed by collateral damage, Meixner explained.

While one mannequin’s plastic head was found in a pool of mud on the range post-test, its body was still standing and, along with the rest of the mannequins, simply splattered in mud.

For APS systems that defeat threats farther out from the vehicle, the area where soldiers can operate near the vehicle is more limited.

The system’s radar is also capable of weeding through the clutter of a busy urban environment and can precisely distinguish the type of incoming threat so the system can fine-tune its response depending on what kind of projectile is fired at the vehicle, Meixner said.

Rheinmetall has done everything it can to confuse the system’s radar, including building a leaf tosser to send leaves into the air around the system to see if it would throw the system off, but the radar has been able to detect threats appropriately in every scenario the company has thrown at it.

And while many radars turn vehicles into easy targets in an environment where an adversary can detect signals in an electromagnetic environment, the radar in ADS is low-power enough to limit its detection in the spectrum, according to Meixner.

Increasing appetite

APS systems have been in development for roughly 40 years. The Russians first developed a system in the 1970s. But it’s only now that countries including the U.S. Army are getting serious about the capability.

Countries looking for APS now include a number of European countries. Poland, for instance, is serious about procuring something to protect its combat vehicles. Several military representatives also attended the March 7 demonstration from the Spanish army and said they were conducting a study to determine a requirement for APS.

Meixner theorized as to why countries are now just getting on board. “You have, for the first time, an autonomous system on the battlefield that is firing just by the decision the system itself makes, and of course, this is really scary.”

But Meixner equated the ADS system to an airbag, another autonomous system with explosives set up to respond autonomously when a car is in a crash.

Yet Rheinmetall has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of the system. The German government aided in funding safety certification of the system and signals, perhaps, the intension of Germany to ultimately field ADS to its combat vehicles as well.

References

  1. ^ Rheinmetall made another push (www.defensenews.com)
  2. ^ Iron Fist from IMI (www.defensenews.com)
  3. ^ Artis’ Iron Curtain (www.defensenews.com)
  4. ^ stayed on track with Abrams (www.defensenews.com)
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Regulate Weapons Like We Do in the Military, Says an Army Officer

For the list of previous entries in this series, please see the index at the end of the post. But: if you’re revving up to send me a note explaining what kind of ammunition the AR-15 uses, and how it is similar to (and different from) the military’s M-16 (and so on), please first at least look at this 8,000 word Atlantic article[1] I did on that exact topic more than 35 years ago.

For today’s installment, letters from readers who are familiar with weapons and with the military application of firepower, and the lessons it has for civilian use.

First, from an Army officer:

I’m a Regular Army officer and have served in frontline positions in Iraq (this only to mean that I’ve got a very small slice of experience with the practical application of what military grade weapons were designed to do).

I’m a southerner who grew up shooting .22s in the field behind the house from the time I could hold the rifle.

I own several “classic” firearms like the M-1 Garand and a Martini-Henry, though not an AR-platform, which I shoot enough at work, to be honest (something half-submerged in my mind makes me think that in my house I don’t need a weapon designed exclusively for combat, either for sport or home defense—my German Shepherd is a much better platform for both).

All that to say that for the first time ever, I find myself more strongly on the side of gun control than of unrestricted gun circulation. (Addendum: I am not one who “vet-splains” and expects that my service makes my point of view infallible, but I hope this might tease out some further lines in the discussion.)

My niche perspective is this: in the Army, firearms are much more heavily regulated than in civil society. How can so many enthusiastic gun owners say that they hold the military as a model, and yet not accept the strict regulations that go with the military’s use of firearms?

References

  1. ^ at this 8,000 word Atlantic article (www.theatlantic.com)
0

Regulate Weapons Like We Do in the Military, Says an Army Officer

For the list of previous entries in this series, please see the index at the end of the post. But: if you’re revving up to send me a note explaining what kind of ammunition the AR-15 uses, and how it is similar to (and different from) the military’s M-16 (and so on), please first at least look at this 8,000 word Atlantic article[1] I did on that exact topic more than 35 years ago.

For today’s installment, letters from readers who are familiar with weapons and with the military application of firepower, and the lessons it has for civilian use.

First, from an Army officer:

I’m a Regular Army officer and have served in frontline positions in Iraq (this only to mean that I’ve got a very small slice of experience with the practical application of what military grade weapons were designed to do).

I’m a southerner who grew up shooting .22s in the field behind the house from the time I could hold the rifle.

I own several “classic” firearms like the M-1 Garand and a Martini-Henry, though not an AR-platform, which I shoot enough at work, to be honest (something half-submerged in my mind makes me think that in my house I don’t need a weapon designed exclusively for combat, either for sport or home defense—my German Shepherd is a much better platform for both).

All that to say that for the first time ever, I find myself more strongly on the side of gun control than of unrestricted gun circulation. (Addendum: I am not one who “vet-splains” and expects that my service makes my point of view infallible, but I hope this might tease out some further lines in the discussion.)

My niche perspective is this: in the Army, firearms are much more heavily regulated than in civil society. How can so many enthusiastic gun owners say that they hold the military as a model, and yet not accept the strict regulations that go with the military’s use of firearms?

References

  1. ^ at this 8,000 word Atlantic article (www.theatlantic.com)
0

Regulate Weapons Like We Do in the Military, Says an Army Officer

For the list of previous entries in this series, please see the index at the end of the post. But: if you’re revving up to send me a note explaining what kind of ammunition the AR-15 uses, and how it is similar to (and different from) the military’s M-16 (and so on), please first at least look at this 8,000 word Atlantic article[1] I did on that exact topic more than 35 years ago.

For today’s installment, letters from readers who are familiar with weapons and with the military application of firepower, and the lessons it has for civilian use.

First, from an Army officer:

I’m a Regular Army officer and have served in frontline positions in Iraq (this only to mean that I’ve got a very small slice of experience with the practical application of what military grade weapons were designed to do).

I’m a southerner who grew up shooting .22s in the field behind the house from the time I could hold the rifle.

I own several “classic” firearms like the M-1 Garand and a Martini-Henry, though not an AR-platform, which I shoot enough at work, to be honest (something half-submerged in my mind makes me think that in my house I don’t need a weapon designed exclusively for combat, either for sport or home defense—my German Shepherd is a much better platform for both).

All that to say that for the first time ever, I find myself more strongly on the side of gun control than of unrestricted gun circulation. (Addendum: I am not one who “vet-splains” and expects that my service makes my point of view infallible, but I hope this might tease out some further lines in the discussion.)

My niche perspective is this: in the Army, firearms are much more heavily regulated than in civil society. How can so many enthusiastic gun owners say that they hold the military as a model, and yet not accept the strict regulations that go with the military’s use of firearms?

References

  1. ^ at this 8,000 word Atlantic article (www.theatlantic.com)