2 FRES Vehicle Survivability Contracts to Thales, Boeing, Lockheed
The USA isn’t the only country thinking about lighter armors and advanced defense systems for its vehicles. Yesterday, DID covered a pair of chassis-related technology deminstration programs for Britain’s proposed FRES family of armored vehicles. The UK Ministry of Defence issued 4 contracts, however, and the other two were all about survivability.
Specifically, the FRES Integrated survivability program. “Integrated survivability” is a combination of vehicle design (stealth, shape, layout), sensors, armor, and active defensive systems inside and out. In this case, it also includes something called “electric armor.”
Yes, you read that right…
FRES Contract #3: Thales UK, teamed with Boeing, was selected to lead the Integrated Survivability (IS) programme. This project will define Integrated Survivability concepts for the full range of FRES roles.
Readers looking to get a sense of where the state of the art is headed may want to read Army AL&T (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) Magazine’s November-December 2005 article titled “Spinning Out Future Force Technologies to Warfighters Today” [PDF format, 682k], which covers US advances and experiments in vehicle protection. DID also covered a TARDEC anti-RPG defense system that uses explosions near the vehicle back in December 2004.
Ultimately, however, readers should also understand that stealth and sensors aren’t everything. Sometimes, one must simply have systems with the protection required to face and defeat high-intensity fire. Otherwise one has a very expensive and frequently successful system whose first unexpected encounter is likely to be its last. See the story of Objective Peach during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
FRES Contract #4: Lockheed Martin UK, which has been awarded a contract for an Electric Armor TDP. This programme will determine the principles for integration of Electric Armor into FRES.
What’s that? Winds of Change.NET covered the MoD’s electric armor experiments back in 2002, and has the details.
“Enemies approaching! Polarize the hull plates!”