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DSEI 2021: Leonardo-led UK Industry Team Trials MIPS

Modular Integration Protection Systems for AFVs

A team of British science and technology experts, led by Leonardo, has successfully trialled a high-tech new protection system approach for armoured vehicles, designated Modular Integration Protection System (MIPS), the company announced at DSEI on 15 September.

The fresh  approach brings together layers of electronic and physical protection technologies to provide vehicle crews with a formidable defensive shield. The team included Abstract Solutions, CGI, Frazer-Nash, Lockheed Martin UK, RBSL, Roke and Ultra Electronics.

Demonstration of the developmental MIPS architecture was a key element of Project Icarus, a Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) technology demonstrator programme (TDP) launched in response to the increasing prevalence and rapid evolution of new-generation rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and anti-tank guided weapons (ATGW).

During the trials in July, representative weapons were fired from short range at MIPS. The developmental system integrated a combination of COTS and surrogate sensors and countermeasures adapted for integration into MIPS. This comprehensively tested MIPS’ ability to respond appropriately to threats within extremely short timeframes.

MIPS is based on open-systems and model-driven principles, to form the basis of an architectural and infrastructure approach to ground vehicle protection that supports the modular integration, affordable acquisition and safe deployment of ‘best-of-breed’ sensors and countermeasures to deliver operational independence. This includes sensors and ‘soft’ protection systems that focus on early threat detection and attempt to disrupt, decoy or spoof incoming threats, and ‘hard’ countermeasure systems to intercept and physically defeat the incoming weapon system.

The MIPS solution is specifically designed to enable the vehicle’s protection system to be rapidly tailored, evolved and certified to protect crew members as new threats emerge.

As well as establishing, demonstrating and testing the MIPS solution, a through-life capability roadmap and initial approach for acquisition has been produced, to help inform UK MoD as it looks to establish a way forward to mature the MIPS capability and bring it into operational service.

Following the successful conclusion of the TDP as originally scoped, contract amendments have been placed to extend the programme to explore the potential application of MIPS to deliver counter-drone and counter-ISTAR capability solutions. Through this additional work, the implications and modifications necessary with respect to the MIPS architecture, system model and draft MIPS Standard to enable this outcome will be established.

The MIPS architecture, when fully developed, could lend itself to a host of protective applications, not simply to armoured vehicles. (Photo of CHALLENGER 2 in Canada, UK MoD)

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