The armed forces face new security challenges. Multinational operations, asymmetric conflicts, but also the potential dangers of terrorist attacks threaten the external and internal security and place new demands on the equipment, technology and logistics of the emergency services.
Diehl Defence is developing a laser-based DIRCM (Directed Infrared Counter Measure) system for protection of the Bundeswehr ´s new A400M military transport aircraft against missile attacks. The innovative protection system employs manufacturer Elbit Systems` high-tech sensors to counter seeker-guided missiles.
Such missiles, used in mobile air defence systems, pose a great danger especially during take-offs and landings. Diehl Defence combines three of Elbit System´s combat-proven J-MUSIC (Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure) - laser devices into a multi-turret DIRCM (Directed Infrared Counter Measure) system ensuring complete 360° protection of the aircraft.
The new DIRCM system operates in conjunction with an on-board missile warner and focuses the highly dynamic and precisely guided laser beam directly on the attacking object´s infrared seeker. Diehl´s DIRCM system counters advanced guided missiles in safe distance from the aircraft. The system provides considerably better protection than currently employed IR (infrared) decoys, whose thermal radiation is supposed to deflect missiles from their targets. At Diehl´s test site the entire system was already successfully activated.
It was set up in a very short time span allowing proof of its essential operational functions. Short-term realization of DIRCM self-protection benefits not only tactical transport aircraft, but other aircraft types as well, such as the A330 Multi-Role Tanker or the P3 maritime patrol aircraft. Collaboration between Diehl and Elbit also includes development of light laser systems for employment in helicopters providing a further example of successful cross-border industrial cooperation protection our soldiers.
Military procurement authorities and armed forces must be able to rely on defence contractors fulfilling requirements and expectations regarding task-oriented equipment within the agreed time and cost frames. The duty of care for military personnel necessitates providing armed forces with the best equipment available for their dangerous missions.
Defence business is caught between constrained procurement budgets, small program quantities, fragmented defence markets as well as stringent requirements regarding the technical performance of military hardware. In this challenging environment, Diehl Defence is, apart from its own development programs, pursuing the enlargement of its product portfolio by cooperating with international partners.
Featuring as stand-off weapons, guided missiles´ data link capabilities are indispensable for armed forces. In armies they are employed by the infantry, special forces as well as the artillery. Missile developments in Europe are mostly conducted within international cooperation programs (IRIS-T serving as an example). EuroSpike GmbH, a joint venture of the shareholders Diehl Defence, Rafael and Rheinmetall, practices a different kind of procurement. The program company markets the Israeli Spike guided missile family in Europe. A work share agreement ensures realization of large production portions in Germany, An additional objective is the joint refinement of the product line.
Spike guided missile family: Added value for the user
The missile family currently comprises Spike SR (Short-Range), Spike MR (Medium-Range), Spike LR (Long-Range), Spike ER (Enhanced Range) and Spike NLOS (Non-Line-of-Sight) covering ranges from 2 to 30 km. Under procurement aspects, the Spike family offers several advantages:
The public purchaser saves considerable expenses in missile development and testing by utilizing full-fledged, qualified products. Moreover, manufacturing and material costs are reduced by multiple application of identical technologies and components. These include among others sensors, electronic and mechanical sections as well as the warhead, the launching canister and the fiber-optic or RF data link. The public purchaser can dispense with costly new developments and ensure more favorable conditions in the acquisition process.
Further advantages are generated by a standardized operation concept in training programs facilitating instruction with regard to different equipment.
Moreover, the knowledge and experience gained during qualification of the first Spike missiles reduces the qualification and approval efforts with successor models.
Furthermore the Spike missile family´s identical design allows employment of a so-called generic launcher. It can accommodate a mixed load of Spike LR, Spike ER and Spike NLOS missiles covering ranges from 4 to 8 to 30 km. For air-to-surface missions, the generic launcher provides the helicopter pilot an option of selecting the suitable missile depending on mission scenarios and target surface.
Finally the prevalence of guided Spike missiles in Europe enhances weapon standardization among NATO partners thereby facilitating mutual logistical support in combat. The emerging cost saving potential becomes apparent particularly in spare parts supply, maintenance and repair.
Successful German-Israeli cooperation provided the Bundeswehr access to available, combat-proven products, whose development would otherwise require considerable national funds. The Spike missile types LR, SR and NLOS serve as examples.
Spike LR: Standard armament in European armed forces
The multi-role, light Spike LR guided missile was introduced in Germany in 2009. It is operative or being procured in numerous European armed forces. It outfits infantry and special forces and is also planned as armament for the PUMA infantry armored fighting vehicle. Spike enables precise engagement of armored and unarmored vehicles as well as helicopters, bunkers, mortar and artillery sites at distances of up to 4,000 meters.
The fiber-optic data link provides the operator with the option of correcting the trajectory, changing the target and – if necessary – mission abort. Military personnel and the armored vehicle enjoy optimum protection, because Spike LR can be fired from covert positions and closed spaces.
Diehl´s work shares in the Spike LR program comprises the missile´s “intelligence” encompassing the imaging seeker as well as the guidance and control sections, energy supply, launch canister and final integration.
Spike SR: Flexibility for infantry operations
The product family is rounded off by Rafael´s Spike SR fire-and-forget missile. Achieving variable ranges between 50 and 2,000 meters, it meets the Bundeswehr´s requirements regarding the functional capability demand “Light Effector 1,800 meters plus”. Modern technologies are applied with regard to sensors, propulsion, guidance, monitoring and operation. The man-pad weapon is operative within six seconds weighing merely 10 kg.
Spike SR´s performance during the demonstration firings in the Negev Desert at the end of 2015 convinced representatives of agencies and command authorities. At this occasion, Spike SR, fired in infrared mode, scored direct hits against four different target scenarios at varying distances.
Spike NLOS: Direct hits at 30 km
In 2013, Diehl Defence and Rafael signed an agreement covering cooperation on the Spike NLOS guided missile for infantry and artillery forces. Spike NLOS possesses Radio Frequency (RF) guidance as well as sophisticated sensor technology and can be delivered with different warheads. The guided missile can be fired from land vehicles as well as helicopters and vessels. It is capable of pin-point engagement of stationary and moving targets at ranges of up to 30 km under all weather conditions.
During non-line-of-sight target engagement at long distances, Rafael´s combat-proven troopers assistance system Matchpoint is capable of playing out its advantages. Matchpoint software (applicable in Spike LR and ER) permits higher precision as well as quicker target detection and engagement based on sensor-, guidance and image correlation technology. Spike NLOS is a full-fledged, qualified product, which the Bundeswehr could procure inexpensively.
Promising approaches of missile family concepts
International cooperation programs and the implementation of modular missile family concepts provide promising approaches to mitigate the trade-off between constrained procure budgets with small batch numbers and costly product development based on tough performance requirements for military hardware. The multiple-application Spike missile family, procured by numerous armed forces, offers both the user and manufacturer considerable cost benefits concerning material purchase and production, spare parts supply, maintenance and documentation as well as training and cumbersome qualification and approval procedures.
This win-win situation highlights solutions for cooperative relationships between customers and manufacturers which could be exemplary for other projects as well.
Today's mission scenarios require notably higher precision in terms of both target engagement and protection. In this context, laser technology can provide valuable contributions in various applications:
- Semi-Active Laser (SAL) sensors enable precise cueing of guided missiles and guided ammunition by means of a laser target designator.
- Directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) contribute effectively to the protection of aircraft against guided missiles with IR seekers.
- In various scenarios, Laser Weapon Systems (LWS) can engage targets in a graduated manner, especially tactical unmanned aerial systems and sensors.
Semi-Active Laser (SAL)
The conceptual and structural realignment of the German armed forces describes, among other things, the capability of pin-point engagement of small, lightly armored targets from the air as well as in direct fire on the ground. SAL seekers mark a target with a target designator and the SAL seeker guides the effector autonomously to the target illuminated by the laser.
Air-to-Surface, Laser-Guided Sidewinder (LaGS) Missile
Airborne attacks against small, mobile targets require a new weapon system tailored to this specific purpose. It combines low explosive power with high hit accuracy (pin-point engagement) while largely avoiding accompanying damage. For missions of this kind, the German Air Force so far only possesses weapons originally developed and procured for precise engagement of large, hardened targets. The Laser-Guided Sidewinder (LaGS) program for retrofit of the proven air-to-air guided missile family was designed for such tasks in modern mission scenarios. The missile's dimensions, weight, center of gravity and moments of inertia remain unchanged – as well as the interface with the weapon station and the aircraft, including software.The customer's benefit is that existing missiles can be modified quickly and economically for air-to-surface missions. Replacement of the Sidewinder seeker in the guidance and control section by a semi-active laser (SAL) seeker provides the possibility of covering new mission scenarios with a missile that has already been integrated in numerous fighter aircraft, without the need of new aircraft missile integration at considerable cost. The new precision weapon enables target engagement with an accuracy of one meter. Thus, users are offered new possibilities of combining heavy and light weapons. Due to its modular design, LaGS is bound to make an important contribution to air-to-surface missions involving various carrier platforms.
Vulcano Guided Ammunition for Army and Navy
Based on a bilateral memorandum of understanding, Diehl Defence is developing the VULCANO guided ammunition family, together with its Italian partner OTO Melara – caliber 155 mm for army artillery and caliber 127 mm for the navy. This leading ammunition family will revolutionize the artillery´s and navy´s indirect fire. In various tests, these ammunition types demonstrated their capability of engaging stationary and mobile ground and sea targets with pinpoint accuracy at a range of up to 100 km. The self-propelled howitzer 2000 (PzH2000) and other 155 mm weapon carriers constitute the weapon platform of the guided VULCANO 155 mm artillery ammunition. The VULCANO 127 mm ammunition can be employed on surface vessels in the new OTO Melara 127/64 light weight and other 127 mm naval guns.Introduction of long-range guided ammunition is driven above all by the requirement to avoid accompanying damage, the need for precise and prompt engagement and finally and cost saving effects. Over the long run, all direct and indirect fire tube weapons will need stand-off precision guided ammunition for extended operational tasks.A dual challenge had to be mastered with regard to army and navy VULCANO guided ammunition: on the one hand, an imaging sensor unit with an uncooled IR detector (FarIR sensor) was developed for autonomous terminal approach of sea targets featuring an infrared spectrum.On the other hand, a semi-active laser (SAL) sensor unit was implemented. Both target observation and illumination are provided by specific joint fire support teams (JFST). Thus, user requirements for mission abort capability in connection with laser guidance were met for the first time. The ammunition can be programmed with two laser codes allowing either precise target engagement or mission abort due to altered basic operating conditions.In case of mission abort, the warhead is not armed, enabling the JFST to guide the ammunition to uncritical terrain. The mission abort option for tube artillery ammunition remains unique so far marking important advances in reducing accompanyingl damage. Precision constitutes another advantage of laser guidance. The VULCANO laser-guided ammunition achieves an accuracy of less than one meter. Effective engagement of moving targets is possible due to target illumination by the Joint Fire Support Team. Both capabilities exceed the performance profile of purely GPS-guided ammunition. Furthermore terminal approach is conducted without GPS support and thus robust against GPS jamming.
DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasures) – Directed, laser-based Infrared Countermeasures for Aircraft Protection
Estimates assume that more than one million man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) have so far been manufactured worldwide. DIRCM systems for aircraft protection are designed to disrupt missiles´ infrared seekers thereby causing the missile to miss its target. This increases the safety of the flying platform´s crew. Moreover, the risk of accompanying damage, caused by the ejection of extremely hot decoys, is reduced.The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) placed an order with Diehl Defence for the design of a system for laser-based directed infrared-laser countermeasures for aircraft protection. Within the context of the risk minimization study "DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasure) for A400M", conducted in cooperation with industrial partner Elbit, three system units of the J-MUSICTM type (Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure) are combined into one overall system to provide 360° protection for the new German Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. Besides set-up of a prototype of the new protection system, the 15-month study also includes an extensive test program at the Diehl Defence laser test range in Röthenbach.J-MUSICTM is part of a DIRCM family developed by Elbit in the past ten years. C-MUSICTM was qualified for commercial aircraft in Israel. In the next few years, all aircraft of the Israeli airlines will be equipped with this protection system requiring no modification of the aircraft.While twelve aircraft will be equipped with the existing J-MUSICTM, it will be continuously refined to provide protection against future threats as well. The focus will concentrate on quantum cascade lasers.
Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCL) for Medium and Far IR Applications
Currently laser systems consisting of discrete components, converting laser wavelength into the infrared spectral range, are being used in DIRCM systems. The complexity of the opto-mechanical design hardly allows further reduction of the construction volume.In the past decade, semiconductor-based laser technologies (such as quantum cascade lasers) converting electricity directly into a photon flux in the laser beam were developed in international research laboratories. Laser technology-induced commercial products (such as laser pointers or DVD/CD players) can thus be applied to the IR spectrum. Presently this development is in the process of being transferred from labs to industry.Diehl Defence initiated the technology transfer in due time and is developing, in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Society, quantum-cascade-laser subsystems for employment in protection systems. The focus is on two applications: systems for directed countermeasures for aircraft protection (Directed Infrared Countermeasure, DIRCM) as well as sensors for stand-off detection of explosives and chemical agents for protection of ground forces.From the outset of QCL subsystem development, a high degree of modularity was considered important: a compact basic module fulfills all necessary opto-mechatronic functions thereby providing the required interfaces. Configured either as a single laser or as part of a three-dimensional laser structure, the technology is used for performance scaling and determining spectral diversity. The basic module is designed independently of laser wavelength and can thus be used for different infrared-based systems to either disrupt or blind sensors or for stand-off detection of chemical substances.
Laser Weapon Systems
Diehl Defence has been involved in national laser weapon system programs since 1985. Based on its comprehensive experience, the company has been focusing on technology studies covering operational safety, effectiveness and system integration of solid-state laser weapon systems since 2011.The precise, graduated target engagement provided by laser weapon systems (LWS) offers an extended range of applications for defence against low-flying, slow and small (LSS) threats, such as mini drones and optronic sensor systems.In contrast to conventional warheads, the energy high-performance, solid-state laser weapon systems require for effective target engagement is set free within several seconds rather than in a split second. Besides task-specific laser beam shaping, precise target tracking as well as beam tracking are especially important for minimization of engagement time. In conjunction with national and international partners, Diehl Defence is investigating the complete "sensor-to-shooter" cycle in simulation studies and test campaigns. Diehl's own laser test range featuring an optical path length of 400 m and diverse laser laboratories conducts basic investigations on focusable laser beams in atmospheric turbulences as well as on the effects of high-power laser radiation on various materials.Possible applications of LWS in different climate zones as well as such a weapon´s life cycle costs are major issues both in product development and in the production cycle.
Diehl Defence employs laser technology in a broad wavelength range – from target designation to interference to engagement – for all armed services. Expertise in the fields of laser technology, sensors, signal processing, systems engineering and logistics complement each other on the path from research and technology studies to the mission-optimized product.The use of modern laser technology allows adjustment of operational systems such as DIRCM, artillery munition or missiles to the requirements of current and future mission scenarios. New technologies, such as laser weapon systems, are being investigated with regard to their added operational value and their life cycle costs.Diehl Defence´s extensive know-how in laser technology makes an important contribution to providing mission-optimized equipment featuring short development spans at low cost.Publication with permission by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Wehrtechnik, Bonn
Diehl´s standard infantry ammunition LV (Low Velocity) 40 mmx46 (DM101A2), operative in the Bundeswehr and different NATO and international armed forces, has proved its worth with various weapons, such as G 36 assault rifle, the HK 69A1 grenade pistol or the M16 US grenade rifle. Nonetheless ammunition requirements have changed due to the combat experience gained in international hotspots. For example, the ammunition´s range was increased significantly to a combat distance of approximately 800 meters.
Heeding user requirements, Diehl BGT Defence from 2011 to 2013 developed the successor generation of the Low Velocity ammunition, the “Low Velocity Next Generation” (LVNG) ammunition family. It can be employed by Low Velocity weapon systems.
Company qualification of the new Diehl High Explosive Dual Purpose LV-NG 40 mmx46 cartridge was successfully completed with the Heckler & Koch G 36/A 36 weapons at the end of 2013. Simultaneously the new ammunition was tested for weapons of additional manufacturers such as Rippel (South Africa), Colt (USA) and Steyr (Austria). Moreover, qualification of the 40 mm x 51 ammunition type for the Ripple-XRGL launcher (5 kilograms) including the weapon compatibility study was successfully completed. The next step envisages testing and qualification of the ammunition for additional in-service LV grenade launchers.
Diehl´s new 40 mm LV-NG ammunition meets the criteria of Insensitive ammunition according to STANAG and is REACh conform. The Diehl cartridge LV-NG HE (High Explosive)-DP (Dual Purpose) projectile for fragmentation and penetration of steel armor allows engagement of lightly armored vehicles at a distance of up to 800 meters as well. The new Diehl cartridge contributes to closing an infantry capability gap. With regard to fuzes, Diehl relies on the proven products of JUNGHANS microtec. The ammunition is equipped with the point detonating impact fuze AZ-Z DM451, which has also been employed successfully for many years in the Diehl cartridge 40 mm x 53 (DM42) operative in the inventories of numerous NATO countries. The integrated pyrotechnical self-destruct device ensures that no dangerous duds remain on the battlefield after cessation of hostilities.
The new Low Velocity Next Generation (LV-NG) Infantry Ammunition Family comprises all relevant ammunition types such as High Explosive Dual-Purpose (HE-DP), High Explosive Pre-form Fragment (HE-PFF), Target Practice (TP) and Target Practice with Marker.
Diehl´s new infantry ammunition family marks a generation leap in ammunition technology providing combat forces enhanced protection and impact with in-service weapon systems.
Both projectiles are competing to become the precision ammunition for the self-propelled howitzer 2000 (PzH 2000).
In the tests, Vulcano achieved the precision required for point target munition in the GPS- and laser-guided version. After a short detection phase, Vulcano flies unguided for a long time until passing the apogee of the initially ballistic trajectory. Then the glide phase with GPS guidance begins. The laser seeker finally starts the target detection phase with subsequent tracking and destruction of the designated target. The time when the laser seeker is activated can be selected freely and depends on the local and tactical as well as operational circumstances.
Initial tests with GPS and laser guidance already took place in spring 2013. During the entire trials campaign, Vulcano demonstrated its performance capability at different ranges.
Plug&play tested successfully
The latest munition tests with the PzH 2000 for the first time also included infrared guidance to demonstrate target detection and tracking capability. Infrared terminal guidance is, however, to be implemented only in the 127 mm naval version. Germany will procure the unguided Vulcano version for its navy though. The guided version is only a choice for the PzH 2000. The Italian navy will, however, procure the guided Vulcano version for their units.
The plug&play capability of various terminal guidance sensors has been demonstrated with IMU/GPS guidance for the midcourse phase. This is another version with GPS guidance and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) – consisting of gyro axes for rotational measurement and accelerometer axes for linear acceleration measurement – providing stabilization during the terminal phase. They are identical for the 155 mm and 127 mm Vulcano munition variants.
The Vulcano program is thus nearing completion, with a low production rate starting in the near future.
Laser for mission abortion
Development of the Excalibur S with laser guidance has not yet advanced so far. The GPS-guided Excalibur lb – providing the basis for Excalibur S – has already been used in service. Laser guidance is an additional feature further increasing the munition's precision.
As with Vulcano, the projectile is initially guided by GPS and the laser is activated only in the terminal phase.
As shown in the picture above, Excalibur S successfully engaged the targeted vehicle, which however did not move, with the first shot.
Laser guidance has several advantages. For instance, the Bundeswehr's mission abort capability requirement can only be met by using laser guidance.
Furthermore, laser guidance provides much higher precision. The laser-guided Vulcano, for example, achieves a precision of less than one meter around the target. Due to laser designation of the target by the Joint Fire Support Team, laser-guided munition even enables the successful engagement of moving targets.
Advantages and disadvantages with the PzH 2000
Both projectiles have already been fired successfully from a German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer – in the case of the Excalibur, however, only the purely GPS-guided lb, not the laser-guided S version. Both showed advantages and disadvantages. Vulcano achieves greater range and precision. However – as a subcaliber projectile – it needs a certain safety area of several hundred meters in front of the PzH 2000 because of the launching sabots falling off the projectile after leaving the gun. The Excalibur full-caliber projectile does not need such a safety area but has problems with automatic projectile loading.
Both projectiles would enhance the army's capabilities considerably because precision strikes and the engagement of point targets would no longer be the mission of the air force alone. With this precision-guided munition, the PzH 2000's range could also be increased distinctly to 80 km (Vulcano) and 50 km (Excalibur).
Experts from the German Army Office and the BAAINBw (Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support) observed the tests with the laser-GPS- guided Vulcano and the GPS-guided Excalibur and have so far been very satisfied with the results. As the Vulcano tests are already nearing completion, their satisfaction is not likely to change much, whereas the Excalibur munition – at least the laser-guided version – still has to prove its performance capability in further tests.
Publication with permission of Mittler & Report
Due to their low precision in current engagement scenarios, unguided rockets can be employed by helicopters only to a limited extent. Particularly in asymmetric missions, e.g. in urban environment, precision weapon systems, which – unlike conventional rockets – enable mission abort during the flight (“human-in-the-loop” capability), are required to engage moving single targets.
Diehl Defence is offering the German customer the 70 mm GILA (Guided Intelligent Light Armament) guided rocket for the TIGER support helicopter to close this capability gap. GILA could be manufactured in Germany and is based on the product GATR (Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket) of the Israeli partner Elbit.
The proven technology of the Semi-Active Laser (SAL) seeker detecting laser radiation reflected from the target is used for engagement. In case the helicopter has no laser illuminator on board, this task can be performed either by ground troops, e.g. the “Joint Fire Support Teams” (JFST) of the ISR Army Corps or by NATO aerial vehicles (for example Eurofighter/Typhoon or unmanned aerial systems).
In case GILA is procured, extensive work shares would lie with Diehl Defence, for example, production of the guidance and control section, final assembly of the guided rocket, simulation software as well as helicopter integration and logistics. Without additional modifications, GILA can be fired from the TIGER´s current 70 mm launcher.
GILA is an entirely developed product. Its qualification and integration, in a joint effort with the customer, could begin immediately.
Europe benefits from peace, freedom and security as the foundation of economic success and prosperity. Today this is taken for granted, but it comes with a price. Safeguarding these basic values requires the will and capability to defend them.
Currently German soldiers are participating in multi-national operations in order to prevent conflicts, manage crises and counter trans-national terrorism. Without modern equipment and functioning cooperation with allies these tasks cannot be mastered successfully.
Next to service life management in the long-term, German defence contractors possess the capability to develop, produce and procure operational equipment thereby permanently supplying the necessary system know-how. Equipment for armed forces can either be developed in Germany or must be purchased abroad. Only an independent defence industry is capable of guaranteeing delivery and provision reliability considered politically important.
Arms imports, even in conjunction with licence production, do not permit safeguarding and enhancing technological leadership. Germany´s participation in the resolution of international conflicts encompasses either the provision of soldiers or the delivery of defence equipment to empower international armed forces, however, only if we offer modern military equipment in demand on the world market.
Safeguarding an independent defence industry also should be in the taxpayers` interest, since a large portion of the procurement expenses returns to the federal authorities as taxes and fees, if the net product is generated in the home country.
The German defence industry is a recognized international cooperation partner. The influence and ability to shape the course of events depend not only on the financial clout and political will, but also on the defence expertise and capacity a country is capable of contributing to an international armament program.
Assembly of infrared seekers as well as complete guidance and control sections poses a particular challenge in technical terms. The sensitivity of the optical elements and the high precision requirements for precision-mechanical assemblies necessitate constant ambient conditions, which only exist in clean rooms with temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees centigrade and a humidity between 30 and 55 percent.
Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulation is employed to determine the technical and operational performance of guided missiles. Due to the extremely high costs of captive flight and field tests, the use of software simulation in the design and assessment of missiles as well as their guidance and control sections has proved very effective and cost-saving.
In an HIL five-axis flight simulator, the inner three axes are used for rotational motion simulation of the missile and the outer two axes for the target´s rotational motion. The seeker sensor measures all rotations of the simulator corresponding to the flight movements of the missile and target in real time. Longitudinal movements of the missile and target are calculated by software simulation.
Integration and final inspection of missile seekers as well as complete guidance and control sections are conducted in in-house test chambers. The Sidewinder-, IRIS-T- and RAM missiles are checked for all essential functions on final test stands in the assembly line within an hour. The missiles´ guidance and control sections are tested under realistic rolling, turning and vibrating conditions against simulated radar and infrared targets.
The German Navy´s innovative new Frigate F125 is specifically equipped for conflict and crisis management as well as for combating trans-national terrorism.
The conceptual modifications of the new frigates are apparent in their mission duration, crew size, armament and sensorics. For self-protection of naval units, information superiority as well as the capability of quick and flexible response on board and automatic monitoring of the vessel´s vicinity are critical issues. The respective requirements are met with advanced sensors.
In order to close the capability gap in autonomous close-in monitoring and to increase protection against asymmetric threats, Diehl BGT Defence was tasked with the development of an optical surveillance system.
SIMONE (Ship Infrared Monitoring Observation and Navigation Equipment) provides complete and permanent monitoring of the vessel´s structure. Moreover, it allows early and reliable detection of small objects enabling flexible and precise response. SIMONE takes into account the new crew concept envisaging less manpower by provision of autonomous monitoring requiring no additional personnel. Automatic alarm with relevant data for the command and control system is generated in case of detected threats.
Uncooled infrared detectors featuring longevity as well as 24/7 high image quality meet the requirement of permanent operational readiness.
Diehl BGT Defence is scheduled to deliver the first SIMONE system in spring 2013 for the frigate Baden-Württemberg.
International force contingents operate in global crisis and conflict regions. The soldiers must be able to prevail in intense conflicts. Innovative ammunition technologies provide the opportunity of stand-off engagement of individual targets while largely avoiding collateral damage. The ammunition´s effectiveness against targets under and behind cover provides soldiers the capability to prevail in case of ambush.
These requirements are met by the Light Mortar “LM60”, which is being offered to armed forces by Diehl BGT Defence and the Austrian company Hirtenberger Defence Systems. Early 2012, the “LM60” was introduced to an expert audience under fire at the Hammelburg military training area.
The system Light Mortar 60 mm comprises a weapon with two modes of employment as well as an adapted ammunition family. The weapon is designed for an infantry range from approx. 100 meters to 4.000 meters. The model is available in two versions, one weighing 25 kilograms as well as a commando version weighing less than 6.5 kilograms. Mounted and dismounted use are possible as well as employment in urban scenarios.
The Light Mortar is capable of a firing sequence of 30 grenades per minute and is able to different ammunition variants ( in the visual and infrared spectrum) including smoke devices.
The 60 mm Mortar is suited to significantly enhance the military strength of infantry forces in combat.
Guided large caliber ammunition offers armies and navies long-range, indirect point-target engagement of stationary and mobile single targets in the depth of the area by largely avoiding collateral damage.
Diehl Defence and the Italian company OTO MELARA have been able to collect ample experience in national programs – Germany with the 120 mm Guided Mortar Ammunition as well as the 155 mm Guided Artillery Ammunition and Italy with the VULCANO ammunition variants 127 mm/155 mm Guided Long Range (GLR) and Ballistic Missile Range.
At the EUROSATORY in Paris in June 2012, Diehl Defence and OTO MELARA strengthened their ammunition partnership with an exclusive cooperation agreement involving several joint projects:
• The VULCANO 155 mm GPS/SAL (Semi Active Laser) guided long-range precision ammunition for the Self-Propelled Howitzer Panzerhaubitze PzH2000 (German and Italian variant) as well as for all other operative 155 mm artillery systems;
• The VULCANO 127 mm GPS/SAL for the Oto Melara 127/64 Light Naval Gun as well as for all other operative 127 mm naval guns.
The new VULCANO artillery ammunition offers indisputable advantages with regard to precision, range and price compared to the U.S. competitor. While the U.S. ammunition features a target diversion of five to ten meters, the VULCANO artillery ammunition deviates a maximum of one meter from the target – achieving this goal in its first firing.
VULCANO attains the high precision by laser target tracking. This is accomplished by a Fire Support Team marking the stationary or mobile target. The artillery ammunition then hits the target marking with a deviation of one meter at the maximum. The advantage of the laser target tracking lies in its great precision as well as its mission abort capability.
An additional plus of the VULCANO artillery ammunition is its range. It lies at approx.. 80 kilometers (land) and 100 kilometers (sea) nearly doubling the performance of the U.S. competitor. Furthermore its price is more reasonable: In series production, the artillery projectile is said to cost only half as much as the U.S. competitor.
In test campaigns on the premises of the Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition 91 in Meppen, both the compatibility of the VULCAN ammunition with the PzH2000 and the GPS- and Laser navigation were demonstrated successfully. The qualification of the ammunition begins this year. The artillery projectiles can be fielded in 2014.
Air threats are posed by rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and grenades endangering population centers and critical infrastructure, such as dams and nuclear plants, but facilities and objects as well, for instance military camps of international forces in war and crisis zones. Ground-based air defence units contribute to safeguarding airspace as well as protecting the population and soldiers in action.
Diehl Defence was contracted for development of a modern guided missile with a launcher vehicle for ground-based air defence by the German Federal Agency for Defence and Procurement in 2007. The IRIS-T SL (Surface Launched) covers a broad target spectrum encompassing very short distances as well as medium-ranges. Based on this missile and in cooperation with leading sensor manufacturers, Diehl Defence is offering an entire , interoperable and adaptable air defence system with unique performance characteristics. Particularly the comprehensive target range, 360° protection against threats from shortest and medium-range distances as well as the unrestricted capability of engaging several targets and the high degree of automatization set new standards in future ground-based air defence. The mobile system permits mission-related area and point target protection. This pertains both to the protection of critical infrastructure or events and to homeland defence or international missions.
Weapon System Components
The IRIS-T SLM air defence system includes a sensor, an effector and a fire control system. All components are autonomous allowing missile-related combination. Moreover, they are highly mobile and air-transportable in C-130 class aircraft. All system components permit stationary employment integrated on a standardized 20 foot ISO container frame independent of the launcher vehicle.
The IRIS-T SLM system utilizes the latest-generation 3D-multi-function radars as the main sensor. The radar, offering 360° coverage, is employed for air-monitoring and provision of target data enabling high update rates as well as different modes of seeker and target tracking. The system can be complemented with electro-optical sensors. They are designed for optical identification of targets in operations under the threshold of combat. Moreover, they can be employed for initiating engagement under combat requirements without radar-related radiation.
The IRIS-T SL surface-to-air missile is the upgraded version of the IRIS-T missile employed as standard armament of modern combat aircraft in numerous European countries and internationally. The upgrade encompasses an enhanced rocket motor, a data link as well as an autonomous GPS/INS navigation system. The guided missile is delivered to the customer in light-weight, fibre glass-fortified, maintenance-free storage-, transport- and launch canisters. Within ten minutes, the launcher´s eight missiles can be reloaded by means of a revolving, vehicle-mounted crane. The pre-fragmented warhead as well as the IRIS-T SL´s rocket motor are insensitive. This rules out detonation by fire, lightning, shelling or improper handling (damage through impact) enabling employment in urban terrain.
In its terminal flight phase, the missile´s high-precision passive infrared seeker in conjunction with its outstanding resistance against active and passive countermeasures provide optimum target accuracy. The high-resolution seeker combined with advanced image-processing enables precise target analysis and a high image update rate capable of detecting aerial objects with low heat emission. The seeker not only registers minimum differences in temperature resulting from aero-dynamic friction. It also recognizes the target´s contours allowing selection of the optimum impact point in the target.
The weapon system can be employed against the entire spectrum of aircraft including rotary aircraft. Furthermore it is capable of effective engagement of cruise missiles, drones, U(C)AV, air-to-surface missiles (ASM), anti-radar rockets (ARM), anti-ship missiles, large calibre rockets and precision bombs.
Eight missiles are deployed on a remote-controlled and unmanned vehicle launcher. Ten minutes after entering the firing position it is fully operative. All eight guided missiles can be fired in a rapid sequence. Different targets in various directions can be engaged at a distance of up to 40 kilometers and an altitude of up to 20 kilometers. The missile´s high agility is complemented by minimum reaction times as well as the entire system´s operational effectiveness resulting in an “inner death zone” of less than one kilometer.
The launcher vehicle can be deployed up to 20 km form the fire control system via data link. All required components such as the generator, the fire control computer, antennae and means of communication are deployed on the system frame.
Fire Control System
The fire control system TOC (Tactical Operations Center) is manned with two operators managing tactical air combat. The center offers modern, ergonomically optimized, role-based and ABC-protected work places controlling and monitoring the entire weapon system. The TOC possesses the relevant data interfaces (real-time and non-real-time) and means of communication connecting it with superior command structures. An open system architecture enables flexible integration in existing and future air defence systems. Furthermore adaptation to operational requirements are possible, since any components can be added or removed (plug & fight). A radar, a TOC and a launcher vehicle offer comprehensive protection with a 40 km radius. The weapon system components are connected via radio- and glass fiber link.
Diehl Defence masters the design of flexible and modular system configurations in ground-based air defence. Open and standardized interfaces enable easy connection of the missile system with existing and future fire control components. Having successfully completed five test firings in South Africa in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Diehl Defence is approaching its objective of obtaining series maturity for its IRIS-T SLM air defence system starting 2014.
Shelling military vehicles with shoulder-fired antitank weapons (rocket-propelled grenades – RPG, particularly RPG-7) in Afghanistan leads to numerous losses. Anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) are not yet used by the Taliban, but pose a threat due to their availability.
Successful tests with active vehicle protection systems
Under the name of AWiSS (Abstandswirksames Schutzsystem – active stand-off protection system), Diehl Defence has dealt with active, vehicle-based protection systems against antitank weapons early on. In 2006, an AWiSS demonstrator, integrated in a battle tank Leopard 2, successfully proved its effectiveness under fire against a guided antitank missile of the type MILAN 2. The effector destroyed the guided missile until the remaining fragments as well as the MILAN 2 hollow-charge jet no longer posed a threat to the battle tank. After this trial campaign, AWiSS was advanced into the Active Vehicle Protection System (AVePS) based on user requirements. Launchers and effectors were designed to protect lighter mission vehicles as well. Moreover, the operating principle of the effectors was overhauled with the objective of maximum prevention of collateral damage. Furthermore a shatterproof blast effector was developed to destroy approaching threats with a directed blast. AVePS includes the following components:
- Radar and infrared sensor technology
- Four-countermeasure launcher
- System computer
- Effector cartridge with blast grenade
- System safety electronics
During two test campaigns in 2011, AVePS successfully demonstrated function and performance under fire against different types of armor-piercing weapons. In both test campaigns, an AVePS demonstrator was used in a joint project with an Israeli company, called MAPS (Mutual Active Protection System). For the first test, the system was integrated in an M113 armored personnel carrier to test it under fire against RPG-7 antitank weapons. The active vehicle protection system proved its effectiveness by fending off the threat.In the second test campaign of the MAPS program, the system was integrated in a FUCHS armored personnel carrier with the AVePS launcher and effector technology. During this demonstration, rocket-propelled grenades with state-of the-art tandem warheads (Panzerfaust 3) were fended off successfully by the system. The concept of countering threats with sufficient distance (>ten meters) to the vehicle was proven once again because the probability of pre-triggering during engagement is very high especially with tandem warheads. If there is no sufficient distance between the engagement point and the platform, the basic protection of the vehicle might be pierced -with severe consequences for crew and vehicle.
Engagement process and system features
AVePS´ sensor technology is able to detect threats fired nearby, classify them and determine whether these will hit the vehicle. If this is the case, the launcher is directed toward the point of interception calculated by the system and an effector is fired at this point, based on a recoilless propulsion principle within split seconds. The threat is neutralized by the shatterproof blast effector through a shock wave. Besides the actual goal of fending off the threat, the system also decisively contributes to improving situational awareness. The AVePS sensor technology determines the release point of the weapon based on the trajectory, thus enabling quick and target-oriented countermeasures. The launcher is optimized in terms of weight and moments of inertia and allows highest slew rates thus enabling countering threats fired at very close range. This again increases the weight advantage of launcher-based protection systems over explosive reactive armor or active protection systems with components distributed across the vehicle.
AVePS with two launchers (system weight < 500 kg) can be used as a modular system on heavy armored vehicles against RPG, ATGM and KE penetrators as well as with one launcher (system weight< 350 kg) on light armored vehicles against ATGM and RPG threats.
The advantages of AVePS over other systems
All in all, AVePS features following advantages over other active vehicle protection systems:
- Engagement of the entire range of antitank weapons such as RPG-7 with hollow-charge warhead or Panzerfaust 3 with tandem warhead all the way to modern anti-tank missiles (ATGMs) even with top attack. KE penetrators with sufficient distance to the vehicle are also fended off
- 360° protection based on the capability to fight several goals from different directions within the shortest of time without having to reload
- High operational capability based on the possibility of fast, manual reloading and unloading of blast effectors
- High reliability and protection against accidental firing with a unique safety concept
Diehl Defence´s AVePS project has demonstrated the possibilities and performance potentials of future modern, active vehicle protection systems. Based on the comprehensive preparatory work, the first series prototypes could be provided for testing in use after a two-year development phase.
IRIS-T, the acronym of Infra-Red Imaging System – Tail/Thrust Vector Controlled, is the name of the short-distance air-to-air-missile of the latest generation that will replace the AIM-9L Sidewinder in Germany and the other five consortium nations step by step.
Germany and numerous other European nations need the Sidewinder successor for different reasons which became apparent in the beginning of the 1990s. German reunification for the first time provided access to reliable information on the performance of the Russian short-range guided missile AA-11 Archer. Detailed analyses and the resulting evaluation of the systems in use like the MIG-29, which is armed with the Russian guided missile AA-11 "Archer", revealed that several aspects of the existing "Sidewinder" guided missiles were no longer appropriate to match today´s threats. At the same time, it was evident that short-range air combat would continue to be highly important especially concerning future forms of conflict. Extensive air combat simulations at a manned simulator showed that in future air combat, far more enemy aircraft would enter the short and very short range of 500 to 5000 meters than previously assumed.
Since no suitable candidate could be found for this challenging task in the guided missile market, the IRIS-T concept was presented in 1995 and guided missile development started one year later under the leadership of Germany. The overall development costs were less than 300 million Euros, with Germany assuming the major part of 45%.
The Überlingen-based company Diehl BGT Defence GmbH & Co. KG (previously Bodenseewerk Gerätetechnik GmbH, BGT) was selected as prime contractor.
Partner companies from the consortium nations Germany, Greece, Italy, Canada, Norway and Spain developed the IRIS-T with Diehl BGT Defence assuming the overall responsibility. For political reasons, Canada decided not to procure the guided missiles and left the consortium shortly before the end of the development phase. Spain entered the program in its place at the end of 2002.
During the development phase, there were several weeks of flight trial campaigns under realistic operational conditions. These were conducted almost exclusively in the firing range just off Capo San Lorenzo in the eastern part of Sardinia. The target was a remote-controlled Mirach 100/5 target drone employing typical evasive maneuvers as well as infrared decoys. The first guided missile fired with an infrared seeker head from an F-4F of the WTD 61 (Bundeswehr technical center) scored a hit on March 14, 2002. All IRIS-T firings achieved direct hits of the target drone during the development phase as well as the so-called validation phase (performance demonstration).
In summary, the development of IRIS-T included 168 flights with different carrier aircraft, four surface-launched firings, eleven separation firings as well as 16 live firings against target drones. The Bundeswehr Technical and Airworthiness Center for Aircraft (WTD 61) performed the major portion of the IRIS-T flight trials. The guided missile was tested with two F-4F Phantom II air defence versions. The aircraft were equipped with special instruments for this task.
In February of 2005, Diehl BGT Defence delivered the pilot lot.
Representing all six IRIS-T partner nations, the first series production IRIS-T guided missile was handed over to the German Air Force during a ceremony at the Laage air base – home of the "Steinhoff“fighter wing 73 – on December 5, 2005. Series delivery of initial orders to the consortium will be completed by the end of 2012.
The project was made ready for series production within the scheduled time and budget and in the meantime has gained the reputation of being an outstanding example for European armament cooperation. Rare praise came from the Federal Audit Office. Its positive assessment concluded that IRIS-T-development remained within the stipulated budget.
The missile design, also comprising a large warhead with high target destruction probability, allows successful engagement of a broad range of targets including future threats from the air. IRIS-T exceeds the performance characteristics of the AIM-9L Sidewinder it replaces many times over in all areas. Since IRIS-T is delivered to the air forces, it has become the yardstick for present and future short-range air-to-air guided missiles.
It is characterized by extreme maneuverability and agility at all altitudes due to the combination of thrust-vector and aerodynamic control as well as its intelligent imaging IR seeker head. The innovative infrared seeker head generates high-quality images resembling those of a thermal imaging camera and is capable of distinguishing targets from deception measures of the adversary. IRIS-T features an acquisition range that is up to five times larger than that of comparable missiles and an extremely large look angle.
High target acquisition and tracking performance even against a difficult background enable the pilots to cue the missile to the target with a helmet sight as well. In combination with its “fire & forget“ capability as well as the option to lock the seeker onto the target after firing (lock-on after launch) in conjunction with intelligent imaging processing provide ideal terms for short-range air combat. The ability of IRIS-T to counter approaching surface-to-air and air-to-air guided missiles as well strongly improves the survival capability of one´s own weapon system.
Thanks to these features, the pilot is able to launch the IRIS-T guided missile even if aiming at his adversary looking back over his shoulder. IRIS-T thus offers the flying crew a 360° defence capability.
IRIS-T is employed in fighter aircraft of the consiortium countries, in the Eurofighter (Germany, Italy, Spain), Gripen (Sweden), F-16 (Greece, Norway), EF-18 (Spain) and the Tornado (Germany). In all, approx. 4,000 missiles were ordered for the consortium – including training missiles.
At the end of 2005, Austria (Eurofighter), in 2008 South Africa (Gripen), in 2009 Saudi-Arabia (Eurofighter) and in 2010 Thailand (Gripen) secured the outstanding operational capabilities of IRIS-T for themselves as export customers.
IRIS-T can successfully engage flying targets at a distance of up to 25 kilometers, reaches a speed of clearly more than 3 Mach, weighs nearly 90 kg at a length of 2.94 meters and a body diameter of 12.7 centimeters. The missile is fully compatible with existing Sidewinder interfaces and warrants a high rejection rate against infrared and laser countermeasures.
The previous discussion about protection mostly covered the immediate protection of soldiers and the individual protection of operational vehicles. In view of today’s mission scenarios and threats, stand-off, precise and robust systems are gaining importance for the comprehensive protection of armed forces. The capability categories protection and operational effectiveness are interconnected.
Protecting soldiers in today’s missions is the Bundeswehr´s highest priority. The best protection frequently is suitable effectiveness at the right time. The following selected examples illustrate the close link of protection and operational effectiveness. Shelling of vehicles with Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) – mortar shells, shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons, rockets – kills and injures many people. Under the name of AWiSS (Abstandswirksames Schutzsystem – active stand-off protection system), Diehl has been dealing with active, vehicle-based protection systems against antitank weapons early on. The demonstrator of today’s Mutual Active Protection System (MAPS) successfully proved its effectiveness in test campaigns witnessed by an international audience in April and September 2010.
The new-generation guided missile (Lenkflugkörper Neue Generation - LFK NG) might in the future contribute to effective camp and object protection against threats from the air, such as rockets, drones, helicopters and aircraft, and close the existing capability gap in the army´s air defence. Diehl Defence and MBDA/LFK are jointly working on the development of the LFK NG. However, future program funding is currently uncertain.
Protection through indirect fire can be proven with daily mission experience: German soldiers time and again get into close-in combat situations whose frequency could be reduced with suitable means of reconnaissance as well as the effects of precise standoff weapons.
A combination of reconnaissance and effectiveness permits a graded approach, i.e. achieving effectiveness through standoff engagement of individual and point targets with the option of mission abort. Innovative ammunition solutions provide freedom of action thus protecting own troops as well as civilians.
Diehl successfully completed development of the precise stand-off artillery rocket system GMLRS/SMArt 155. The system offers an ideal combination of protection and effectiveness. The program’s future is uncertain though because procurement is not included in the Bundeswehr's 2011 budget.
Another highly precise system providing operational effectiveness is the multiple-role, light-weight guided missile SPIKE-LR for armored vehicles as well as for infantry and special forces. It is manufactured in cooperation with Rheinmetall and Rafael. SPIKE-LR has been selected as armament for the Bundeswehr’s new PUMA armored infantry combat vehicle. The guided missile allows precise engagement of armored and unarmored vehicles, but helicopters, bunker, mortar and artillery positions as well. Infantry soldiers and special forces can fire SPIKE LR from covered positions and closed rooms enabling them to remain under and behind cover. In September 2010, the first 40 SPIKE missiles were delivered to the Army as scheduled and with the required performance profile.
Diehl´s 40mm ammunition family offers insensitive ammunition with a self-destruction function to engage infantry targets. The Airburst RF cartridge, developed jointly with the Nammo company, will also allow engaging targets behind cover.
The outlined examples clearly show: The employment of precise stand-off ammunition increases protection of armed forces and provides optimum maneuverability. Soldiers are protected by linking reconnaissance in the operational area and employment of precise long-range weapons.