The US Army has awarded an $11 million contract to the team of Rheinmetall Protection Systems and Unified Business Technologies (UBT) for testing of the StrikeShield active protection system to begin in October 2020 at Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The army’s recently formed Vehicle Protective Systems (VPS) program office will evaluate StrikeShield as part of a larger effort to characterize APS performance against a wide variety of anti-armor threats.
This contract award represents the first funded APS testing the army will undertake of the StrikeShield system. It provides a pathway to potential utilization of the system on vehicles in the current Army vehicle fleet as well as vehicles fielded in the future.
The StrikeShield APS is a distributed, real time system which was developed to protect the carrying platform against anti-tank rockets and missiles.
The army will carry out extensive live fire testing of the StrikeShield system that will take place over a period of several months. The objective of the tests will be to gather performance data that can inform future selection of APS technologies best suited for any particular platform.
The army expects the test results will inform APS pursuits for both its fielded vehicle fleets and new vehicle programs like Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) and the Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV).
Rheinmetall and UBT have teamed for US active protection programs since 2015.
“We are excited to enter into a new phase of partnership with the Army that will enable the Army to carry out extensive tests of the StrikeShield APS system,” said Stefan Haase, Rheinmetall’s head of the product unit Active Protection. “We are confident the system will perform very well in the testing and that possibilities for fielding the technology on Army vehicle systems will arise.”
Rheinmetall has also developed a modular hybrid configuration of its StrikeShield APS that combines the company’s active and passive protection technologies in a single integrated design. The module allows for an integrated approach: passive protection components simultaneously serve as interface and shield for the components of the active protection system. Conversely, the StrikeShield APS components comprise ballistic functions and characteristics. The external protection layer protects these components against shell fragments, small arms fire and other sources of mechanical stress. The StrikeShield countermeasures are embedded in the first protection plate from the outside and serve simultaneously as part of the first layer of passive protection. The sensors of the system are contained in the space in between.
The Rheinmetall and UBT team will engage the US Army VPS team regarding the potential of the future hybrid module approach on US vehicles as part of its funded testing.