42-month MEDUSA Programme Evaluates APS Utility
October last year marked the completion of a programme, run by the UK’s Defense Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) over the last three and a half years, to trial and evaluate a system to protect combat vehicles and their occupants.
As part of the overall Dstl Active Integrated Protection Systems Research Project (under the Land Systems research programme), the agency contracted QinetiQ to conduct MEDUSA, assessing a COTS soft-kill Active Protection System (APS). Hensoldt Multifunctional Self-Protection for Vehicles (MUSS) system was selected and evaluated by QinetiQ supported by a team of industrial and MoD partners including Hensoldt, BAE Systems, Frazer-Nash Consultancy and Textron ESL.
System performance and utility was evaluated with respect to subsystem and system performance, system integration, human factors integration as well as its safety, security and legality and the operational impact associated with use and deployment of such a system. The integration assessment included the installation of a MUSS system to a CHALLENGER 2 MBT, coupled with assessment by the Army of the benefits and challenges associated with such equipment across Defence Lines of Development (DLOD). The laboratory testing and trialling of the system culminated in a full end-to-end system evaluation during missile live fire trials held in Woomera, Australia in October 2018, conducted as part of the AUS/UK bi-lateral partnership between Dstl and DST Group (Australia), supported by the Anglo-German MOU held with BAAINBw.
MEDUSA has provided vital insights into the capabilities, benefits and limitations of such equipment, and will be used to inform future direction for both APS research and evaluation activities and support to potential future acquisition programmes. As part of the Army’s future APS strategy, the Leonardo-led ICARUS programme is developing an open modular architecture specification for active protection as a cross-fleet capability, with a view to publishing the Modular Integrated Protection System (MIPS) standard as a NATO Standardisation Agreement (STANAG). Soft-kill subsystems and technologies will form a key part of this future modular, scalable approach to land active protection.
MEDUSA has demonstrated an effective and productive partnership between industrial partners and the MoD and has effectively utilised IRC agreements to deliver a successful and mutually beneficial package of work.