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Missiles in the desert


Dstl and QinetiQ complete trials to assess a system to protect combat vehicles and their occupants.

Medusa project

October 2019 marked the completion of the Medusa Technology Assessment Programme (TAP), which has been running for the last 3.5 years. As part of the overall Dstl Active Integrated Protection Systems Research Project (under the Land Systems research programme), Dstl contracted QinetiQ Ltd to conduct Medusa, assessing a commercial-off-the-shelf soft kill Active Protection System. The Hensoldt MUSS® system was selected and evaluated by QinetiQ supported by a team of industrial and MOD partners (QinetiQ, Hensoldt, BAE Systems, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Textron ESL).

The performance and utility of the system 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 impacts associated with use and deployment of such a system. The integration assessment included the installation of a MUSS® system to a Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, coupled with assessment by the Army to understand the benefits and challenges associated with such equipment across the Defence Lines of Development (DLODs). The laboratory testing and trialling of the system culminated in a full end-end system evaluation during missile live fire trials held in Woomera, South Australia during October 2018, conducted as part of the AUS/UK bi-lateral partnership between Dstl and DST Group (Australia), and also supported by the Anglo-German MOU held with BAAINBw.

Medusa has provided vital insights in to 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 and scalable approach to land active protection.

Medusa has demonstrated an effective and productive partnership between industrial partners and MOD, and has effectively utilised IRC agreements to deliver a successful and mutually beneficial package of work.

William Hooper (Dstl Medusa TAP Lead Technical Partner)

Nicholas Wood (QinetiQ Medusa TAP Technical lead)