Active Protection Systems

The United States Army is implementing a modernization program to create a highly mobile, interconnected and effective force. Envisioned in this concept are well equipped Brigade Combat Teams. These Teams rely on a fast and flexible battlefield network of sensors, unmanned aerial and ground vehicles as well as combat ground vehicles for troops. A key facet of the manned vehicles is survivability. Enhanced survivability is achieved through situational awareness, platform elusiveness and active protection systems.

TSC has developed and is currently in limited rate production of a seeker for an active protection system combating kinetic energy weapons. The seeker is a semi-active RF system that operates in conjunction with vehicle sensors. Our engineers led all aspects of the development from requirements generation to design and fabrication through integration and testing. Having all of these capabilities within the same facility created efficiencies and fostered quality. The AMCOM community can now tout its ability to locally produce complex missile seekers at substantially lower cost than traditional industry primes.

The seeker consists of an interferometer front antenna, three receiver channels, exciter, DSP processor, DC converter and a rear reference antenna. The form-factor and weight restrictions required innovative subassembly design. The seeker electronics will fly in an Army-developed interceptor and must meet missile environment specifications.

Seeker Mechanical Assembly

Several major accomplishments have been achieved in FY 2009 on the company’s seeker program for the U.S. Army. Three seeker assemblies were developed and integrated and are in various stages of testing. All three seekers have been calibrated in an anechoic chamber and undergone Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) to validate the seekers’ ability to perform in the strenuous missile flight environment. A major milestone was met in FY 2009 when a seeker was evaluated and verified using fly-by tests. These tests consisted of mounting a seeker in a fixed location and launching high velocity threats toward it from a military vehicle approximately one mile away. The threats were flown by the seeker at a distance of less than two meters. Seeker data collected from these tests proved that the hardware performed as required. The development of the seeker real-time tactical software was also completed this year with its performance validated during Software-In-the-Loop (SWIL) testing utilizing the system mission computer. Currently, the seekers are in a Hardware-In-the-Loop (HWIL) testing phase where a threat simulator is used to create various synthetic threats and tactical scenarios and introduce them to the seeker via microwave illumination in an anechoic chamber.

integrated seeker

An integrated seeker being tested in an anechoic chamber