Rheinmetall, the major sponsor for Land Forces 2016, is exhibiting one of its BOXER 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV), one of two remaining competitors for Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 programme. The BOXER is equipped with a 35mm automatic cannon, mounted on top of a Rheinmetall-manufactured LANCE manned turret, and features C4ISR capabilities – such as a Local Situational Awareness System (LSAS) developed and manufactured by Melbourne-basd SME Tectonica. Powered by a 720 HP MTU turbo-diesel engine, the Boxer can reach a top speed in excess of 100km/h.
Despite this formidable speed and armament, coupled with multi-layered passive armour, the BOXER is still vulnerable to unexpected rocket attacks in the field, which is where the BOXER's active defence system (ADS) comes in, developed by ADS Protection – a company which Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH holds a 74% stake in.
The active defence system is a comprised of two sets of sensors, which detect and determine incoming explosive projectile threats. If the threat is deemed to be hitting the vehicle, a counter-measure mounted on the side of the vehicle is activated. “The aim is to cut the shape charge mechanism within the incoming warhead without triggering the shape charge jet itself,” Stefan Kruselburger of Rheinmetall Defence explained. As the countermeasure cuts the shape charge of the projectile, the blast is directed down and away from the vehicle in a concentrated area, minimising both collateral damage and damage to the vehicle. “Every hardkill system has close collateral damage, but as we are intercepting the threat close to the vehicle, we have no projectiles or EFP’s flying around, we don’t have a big blast somewhere far from the vehicle, and we don’t bring our own troops that surround the vehicle into danger,” Kruselburger said.
The ADS has a short reaction time, allowing it to intercept threats from a close distance. “An RPG fired from 11-12m is easy for us to detect, determine and intercept,” Kruselburger claimed.
The actual time required to complete these tasks is less than a millisecond.
Currently, the ADS is an optionally mounted system for the BOXER, but an attractive one. The prevalence of explosive projectile threats in the contemporary operating environment makes ADS and similar systems a pressing area for future development.