Nexter Systems of France has completed installation and testing of the Saab Electronic Defence Systems (EDS) LEDS (Land EDS) system on a French Army AMX-10RCR (Rénové) armoured reconnaissance vehicle as part of a research and development study that could see the system integrated onto a variety of French Army vehicles.
In mid-July Defensa.com reported that the LEDS-50 system had been successfully integrated onto an AMX-10RCR as part of a research and development contract awarded by the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) in June 2008 for the development of a projectile early warning system for armoured vehicles.
The modified AMX-10 undertook technical and operational demonstrations in May near Reims.
Last year Nexter completed the modernisation of 256 AMX-10RC vehicles, upgrading them to RCR standard. This involved adding additional armour, smoke grenade launchers and improvements to the transmission and suspension.
The integration and testing of the LEDS could lead to the system being fitted to the French Army’s EBRC future reconnaissance vehicles, ERC 90 Sagaie armoured reconnaissance vehicles and VBMR vehicles, as well as Leclerc tanks and VBCI armoured fighting vehicles. This is part of the French Army’s 10 billion Euro Scorpion programme to renew the ageing armoured vehicle fleet dating from the 1970s.
Nexter declined to comment on the LEDS integration on the AMX-10RCR.
The Saab Avitronics South Africa Land Electronic Defence Systems (LEDS) is a state-of-the-art RPG and anti-tank weapon defence system. It can detect an RPG within 5 milliseconds and calculate whether the RPG will hit or miss the carrier vehicle within a further 10 milliseconds. The active defence controller then determines the validity of the threat within a further 10 milliseconds before taking less than 50 milliseconds to compute an intercept. It then takes 10 milliseconds to launch and a further 50 milliseconds for the “effects deployment”.
The basic LEDS-50 warns the crew of a vehicle fitted with the system that they are in the beam of a laser. The system can deal with up to eight threats simultaneously, while providing analysis on the nature of the threat based on the spectral band used.
LEDS-100 adds jammers and decoys, while LEDS-150 adds the Denel Dynamics Mongoose 1 counter-munition. LEDS-100 confuses enemy weapons operators and incoming rounds by deploying multispectral smoke in their line of sight or flight, hiding the target vehicle. The smoke and an optional infrared jammer interfere with the acquisition and/or tracking, ranging, launching or guidance of a hostile weapon.
LEDS-150 destroys incoming RPG rounds or launched as close as 20 metres from the carrier vehicle with the Mongoose projectiles, allowing it to intercept rounds fired "from across the street".
Further evolutions of LEDS and Mongoose are on the way. LEDS 200 will be able to defeat multi-band seekers and LEDS-300 kinetic energy and “stand-off attack” weapons. LEDS-200 will rapidly deploy a multispectral coating that provides effective signature management against tri-band (CCD, IR, millimetre-wave radar) threats – and – also extinguishes fires. The latter will be a very useful feature against attacks from “petrol bombs” (“Molotov cocktails)”. Janes in June 2008 reported from the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris that LEDS 300 would expand the system's capability to counter kinetic energy “long rod” and smart standoff threats. The concept was “tested successfully … in South Africa [in 2007] and is scheduled to be ready for operations in 2012.”
The current ballistic Mongoose 1 typically defeats an RPG-7 within roughly 6 metres of the carrier vehicle as the about 135 milliseconds required for the intercept process translates into 14 metres of range for a RPG-7 fired at 20 metres. While comforting to the specific vehicle's crew this is disconcerting and likely fatal to own dismounted infantry accompanying the vehicle. A proposed guided Mongoose 2 and -3 will take the intercept envelope to 50 metres and a Mongoose 4 to beyond 300 metres.
To further limit friendly casualties, the Mongoose's warhead is designed to detonate in a flat ring pattern. To limit the firing of the incoming RPG's warhead, which would create the very armour penetrating “jet” the system is seeking to prevent, the Mongoose detonates a shaped charge in the immediate proximity of the incoming round, striking it in the side, resulting in a blast pattern that is parallel to the line of flight and leaving the detonator unfired.
The Reutech Radar Systems FMCW 3-dimensional radar that makes the intercepts possible contains no moving parts and combines simple antennas and simple hardware to provide the means for highly accurate detection and tracking of small, fast moving projectiles against complex clutter backgrounds.
LEDS is fast becoming one of the international benchmarks for active protection solution (APSs), Saab says, adding that LEDS has already realised its first sale to a NATO customer and attracted significant international interest as an Active Protection Solution.
LEDS has been selected by General Dynamics European Land Systems as the preferred active defence system (ADS) for its Piranha (8x8) APC family after a worldwide study of more than 20 ADS currently under development or approaching the end of their development.
The system has been procured by the Dutch army for its BAE Hägglunds CV90 tracked IFVs. It has 192 of the vehicles in service.
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