KIRKUDBRIGHT, Scotland --- British troops could get a major increase in firepower thanks to a revolutionary gun system and advanced turret destined for their armoured fighting vehicles.
Senior officials from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and its French equivalent, the DGA, saw the system in action on a Warrior vehicle at the Kirkcudbright range in Scotland. The BAE Systems MTIP2 turret and its Cased Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) is already cleared to fire from a moving vehicle at a moving target.
MTIP2 is a BAE Systems-funded project to de-risk both the Warrior Fightability and Lethality Improvement Programme (WFLIP) and the FRES Scout vehicle. The company’s offerings into the competitions for the two programmes use different turrets with a common architecture and many common systems, including CTAS, to reduce the training and logistics burden.
During the trials, a number of users commented that the turret exhibited a step change in stabilisation performance from the Challenger 2 tank, widely regarded as the benchmark.
Over the course of three trials open days, visitors saw the system perform static and moving firings against static and moving targets, using both training and armour-piercing rounds. 90 rounds were fired from the 40mm gun and 600 rounds from the chain gun, achieving high levels of accuracy and reliability.
"I was delighted to have the opportunity to see for myself the substantial progress that BAE Systems has made in the development of its solution to meet our high-priority requirement to upgrade Warrior," said Major General Chris Wilson, the MOD’s Capability Manager Battlespace Manoeuvre.
The tests were carried out in a demanding, rough-terrain environment which included changing altitude, direction and attitude whilst firing the gun. The system demonstrated the ability to rapidly change types of ammunition as well as switching from main armament to coaxial chain gun, all achieved with the vehicle on the move.
The trials were part of a programme which began with the Manned Turret Integration Programme (MTIP) which achieved Live Crew Clearance in 2006. This then progressed to MTIP2 which is heavily based on the WFLIP requirement.
“Our submission was extremely well received and scored highly across the board,” said WFLIP Campaign Director Judith Eastwood. “Our focus now is to press on with further trials so that we can be ready for early production subject to UK MOD timescales. Our supply chain has provided invaluable support and with them we are able to integrate the best of breed into our solution. Value for money and technical maturity are our top priorities.”
An ‘invitation to tender’ for WFLIP is expected for Spring with down-select to one bidder at the end of 2009. The UK MOD mandated the 40mm CTAS for all bidders for both FRES Scout and the Warrior Future Lethality Improvement Programme in April 2008.
“MTIP2 and the CTAS represent BAE Systems Land Systems’ biggest development programmes,” said Sales Director David Leslie. “They are in a high state of maturity and an in-service date of 2013 for Warrior is feasible. Both turret and weapon system have system growth potential for 30-plus years and significant potential applications beyond WFLIP and FRES Scout.”
CTAS, a novel concept using conventional technology, has been under development for more than 12 years by CTA International, a joint venture between Nexter and BAE Systems. Both the gun and ammunition of the 40mm CTAS take up roughly the same space inside the turret as a 25mm conventional equivalent, which means that a scout or infantry fighting vehicle can have much greater punch, weight for weight, than existing systems. The cylindrical ammunition is also much easier to stow and handle by automated systems. The gun system has been designed to vastly increase reliability by eliminating over half of a conventional gun’s most unreliable parts.
CTAS will fire armour-piercing fin-stabilised rounds and a general purpose explosive round which can be set for air burst via on-board computers.
MTIP2 is fabricated from welded steel to which has been added an appliqué armour package. Both commander and gunner are provided with day and thermal vision and integrated laser rangefinder to give high “fightability”. The MTIP2 turret integrates CTAS and fits Warrior without any modification.
Earlier in November Land Systems learned it had been successful in remaining in the WFLIP competition following an MOD debrief on the Preliminary Qualification Questionnaire, the first stage in the selection process.
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 100,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15.7 billion (US$ $31.4 billion) in 2007.
British Troops Could Get Firepower Boost from New Warrior Turret and Gun