Providing the best protection for our armed forces is of paramount importance to the Ministry of Defence and the UK industry that supports it. The exploitation of the latest scientific innovation plays a key role in achieving this objective.
The UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) ‘Icarus’ Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP) announced by the Defence Secretary at DSEi 2017, seeks to find a way to maximise the protection of British Army vehicles against current and future weapons in constantly evolving operational environments.
Despite advances in both armour and mobility, the survivability of any vehicle is enhanced greatly if it can first reduce the chances of it being targeted by threats such as Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and Anti-Tank Guided Weapons (ATGW).
Dstl has commissioned Leonardo to lead a team of UK companies and academic institutions, to develop and demonstrate a solution that will affordably integrate ‘best of breed’ technologies in a category known as ‘Active Protection Systems’ (APS).
APS technologies generally fall into either of two categories: ‘soft’ APS solutions that are focused on early threat detection and which attempt to disrupt, decoy or spoof the incoming threat and ‘hard’ APS systems that seek to defeat the incoming weapon system by physically intercepting it, known in military terminology as a ‘kinetic effect’.
The Leonardo team brings together a range of UK industry experts in their respective fields as well as representation from UK academia that can draw upon previous UK investment in related technical areas. Team members working to deliver the Icarus TDP are BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin UK, Ultra Electronics, Frazer-Nash, Vetronics Research Centre, Abstract Solutions, Roke Manor Research and SCISYS. Leonardo was chosen as the lead due, in part, to our experience in the field of ‘open-systems’ integration such as our instrumental role in the development of the UK’s Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) standard and the related NATO-GVA (N-GVA) standard.
One of the primary objectives of the team is to develop and demonstrate a UK sovereign Modular, Integrated Protection System (MIPS) Electronic Architecture (EA) that enables “best of breed” APS sensors and countermeasures to be selected, integrated and deployed across the Army’s fleet of land vehicles in order to defeat the wide range of battlefield weapon threats present in varying operational environments.
As such the Leonardo team is currently leading a UK industry APS Community of Interest and Action (UKACIA) working group in conjunction with Dstl. The purpose of the group is to engage with UK industry to ensure that the very best APS technologies available – now and in the future – are considered within the MIPS EA.
We periodically update this page to provide the latest information on the ICARUS programme and the UKACIA working group.