A recent Army demonstration using a Bradley fighting vehicle as the host platform proved the RAVEN laser-based countermeasure system developed by BAE Systems can successfully be integrated with a controller framework the service is developing without being degraded, a company official said on Monday.
The RAVEN directed infrared countermeasure, a lightweight, modular, scalable, gimballed system that would sit atop Army combat vehicles potentially as part of a layered protection system, is meant to protect against anti-tank guided munitions (ATGMs) at longer ranges, preserving hard-kill protection systems for in case a soft-kill system fails or an ATGM is fired at the vehicle from close in.
“The Army proved that that the MAP controller doesn’t degrade other countermeasures and that was the main benefit of the layered demo,” Ryan Edwards, manager of Business Development for Soldier and Vehicle Electronics part of BAE’s Electronic Systems sector, told media at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. He added that “We could integrate with any potential hard-kill countermeasure.”
The Army’s layered defense demonstration at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama featured soft and hard-kill protection systems integrated into the service’s Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) framework that is being developed to seamlessly integrate soft and hard-kill active countermeasures and components into a layered protection system for combat vehicles.
RAVEN was successfully tested a year ago by the Army in its Soft Kill Rodeo, which included live fire tests, leading to its inclusion in the layered protection demonstration with MAPS.
BAE on Monday disclosed more details about RAVEN, which was developed in part with Army contract funding, and is part of the company’s integrated vehicle protection suite (VPS) and is based on the company’s directed infrared countermeasure systems used to protect Army aircraft. RAVEN can also be integrated with BAE’s 360-degree Multifunction Vehicle Protection (MVP) sensor, which is a wide-format, long-wave infrared (LWIR) situational awareness and warning system installed on a combat vehicle for improved situational awareness, mobility, lethality and survivability.
For the layered defense demonstration in September, the Army provided the cueing sensors and the MAPS architecture sorted out how to address the threat. Edwards said that RAVEN functioned “as expected.” The demonstration included live fires.
Edwards said current VPS systems are radar-based, which means they could be subject to jamming. The LWIR solution is passive so can’t be jammed, he said.
As for what’s next, Edwards said that the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center providing funding to help RAVEN get to the current stage of demonstrations and now the service is sorting out any decisions on a path forward to any potential fielding of the system, noting that there are no guarantees.
BAE is using its own funding to accelerate the maturing of RAVEN and to integrate it with its MVP sensor system, Edwards said. He added that RAVEN is designed for growth to be able to defeat future threats.
Depending on the vehicle and its mission, one or two RAVEN systems would provide the necessary coverage to protect a vehicle at longer ranges, Edwards said.