There is an old adage: “In war you have the quick and the dead.”  This is especially true in modern warfare where technology is making it increasingly easy to hit the target by using dynamic fire control systems, auto-trackers and laser guided munitions.  For those that cannot afford this level of technology, the new paradigm is surprised by employment of asymmetric tactics, such as using ambush from short range in closed terrain.

Until now that is! 

Saab Grintek Defence recently launched its next generation Automated Softkill Solution, the LEDS-50 MK2 AOS.  The product consists of a new generation control computer that allows very high data processing speed and open architecture interfaces that makes its Generic Vehicle Architecture compatible.  This means that the system is “plug-and-play” ready for vehicle networks including battle management systems.  The laser detection capability has also been enhanced, and now offers detection of the latest generation laser-based threats, at sufficient standoff, to allow deployment of effectors early enough to secure hit avoidance.

One of the most difficult threats to beat is that of a combat vehicle with dynamic fire control and auto-tracker.  During trials with a potential European customer, the system demonstrated its capability to interrupt the engagement cycle of a 4th generation main battle tank before the gunner had a ready-to- fire indication.  This is achieved by the combination of LEDS-50 MK2 threat detection, response decision in milliseconds and automated deployment of fast multispectral obscurant – all in less than 1.2 seconds.  The obscuration makes it impossible for the attacker to complete his aiming sequence.  Behind the obscuration, the driver brakes and turns sharply, to avoid being hit by an enemy, firing blindly through the smoke by using the auto-tracker lead angle.  LEDS-50 MK2 can offer optional crew advisory messages to support this evasive action by the driver.

The LEDS-50 MK2 also offers the ability to easily integrate with, and cue other effectors such as laser dazzlers or missile jammers, remote weapon stations or turret weapons.  The cueing may be manual or automatic and depends on the selection made by the crew commander.  This adds counter fire as an active effector against laser based threats.  This weapon cueing capability is operationally deployed with a NATO customer using the CV90 ICV.

Another new feature is that of anti-ambush protection.  For this application the system detects the presence of threats or enemy fire and rapidly obscures the arc of fire of the enemy.  This significantly reduces the effectiveness of enemy fire.  It is an option to simultaneously lay down suppressive countermeasures that allow the vehicle to escape the kill zone.  This capability is on display at the DCD Group stand at AAD in September 2014.

As with any weapon system allowing autonomous response, safety was a major consideration during design to prevent inadvertent firing or false alarms.  The Human Machine Interface is designed to allow the vehicle commander to be in control of safety at all times.  It is possible to dynamically adjust the protected sector (i.e. where the firing of effectors will be allowed) without sacrificing situational awareness.  This allows the system to seamlessly switch arcs of responsibility as vehicle formations and tactical situations change.  This can be done at the push of a button while on the move.

There is a significant increase in international requirements for enhanced endurance. Advanced Softkill solutions offers an excellent price/value proposition since a significant improvement in the existence can be gained for a comparatively small increase in vehicle price.  The LEDS-50 MK2 is the current international benchmark for advanced Softkill for combat vehicles and has already secured contracts from international customers since its release in late 2013.