Military


120mm Mid-Range Munition (MRM)

The Army is developing Mid-Range Munition (MRM), a gun launched precision-guided munition, for the Future Combat System (FCS) Mounted Combat Systems (MCS) vehicle. The projectile will satisfy the need for a beyond line of sight capability, defeat threats with pinpoint accuracy and minimize collateral damage and exposure of U.S. forces to hostile fire.

The next phase of ammunition for traditional line-of-sight (LOS) or direct fire combat system is to expand their lethal range to engage targets at extended LOS and Beyond Line-of-Sight ranges out to 8km+. The primary munition technology is the 120mm Mid-Range Munition (MRM) which is currently under development at Picatinny for the Mounted Combat System for FCS. MRM is a fire and forget, guided, "smart," tank fired, projectile that could employ either a kinetic energy penetrator or an advanced warhead to defeat any high valued target to include the most advanced armored threats.

MRM greatly enhanced system lethality and force survivability. MRM will have dual mode sensor enabling either full autonomous acquisition of vehicle targets in it's field of view or can be directed to engage a specific vehicle or non-signature target through the use of a laser designator. The guidance concept will be demonstrated via guide-to-hit experiments currently in process. MRM could also be fired in the future by the current Abrams tank extending the life of the tank and improve lethality. MRM will increase the battlespace available to U.S. forces in early engagement without requiring an increase in the forces' logistics footprint.

MRM is an autonomous and laser-guided 120mm smart munition fired from an FCS Mounted Combat System (MCS) vehicle. This munition extends the maneuver commander's ba lespace beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) to more than 12km. MRM exploits the ability of FCS-equipped BCTs to identify targets at greatly extended ranges, as well as pass digitized targeting information, in real time, to the maneuver commander or shooter. It also exploits autonomous and smart munitions technologies to provide a munition capable of being fired from a platform at extended range BLOS targets. There are currently two MRM round concepts being pursued, MRM-KE and MRM-CE.

MRM-CE is an advanced, guided, chemical energy (CE) anti-armor smart munition capable of defeating current and advanced armored threat vehicles from fairly close in to extended BLOS ranges. It utilizes a dual tandem, chemical energy, shaped-charge warhead at relatively slow round impact speeds for target defeat. A dual-mode MMW, imaging infrared (IIR) autonomous seeker or SAL is used to acquire and guide towards the target with high accuracy. The sensors are mounted on a unique ball-joint gimbal to accomplish sensor imaging and large sensor search areas for target acquisition. The projectile uses canards and fins to stabilize the round and IMU technology to allow it to glide accurately towards the target during seeker search and terminal impact.

MRM-KE is an advanced guided, boosted, kinetic energy (KE) anti-armor smart munition capable of defeating current and advanced armored threat vehicles from close in to extended BLOS ranges. It utilizes a KE rod and rocket motor technology to thrust the round towards the target at a very high speed for defeat. A millimeter-wave (MMW) autonomous seeker or SAL, along with radial maneuver thrusters, is used to acquire and guide the round towards the target with high accuracy. The projectile uses fi ns to aerodynamically induce spin and accelerometers to provide body motion data to ensure proper dynamics for seeker search area processing.

On March 21, 2005 Alliant Techsystems received a $23 million contract for work on dual mode seeker technologies including a semi active laser for the company's Mid-Range Munition (MRM) program. MRM is a precision-guided 120mm munition designed to defeat enemy targets at line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight ranges.

In MRM tests in 2005 at the Yuma Proving Grounds, Yuma Ariz., ATK became the only company to successfully demonstrate a direct hit by a 120mm gun fired autonomous precision guided projectile.

On March 21, 2005 Alliant Techsystems received a $23 million contract for work on dual mode seeker technologies including a semi active laser for the company's Mid-Range Munition (MRM) program. This new contract funded further development efforts culminating in a technology demonstration flight test in April 2006.

Alliant Techsystems announced May 1, 2006 that it has successfully demonstrated maneuverability of its guided Mid Range Munition Kinetic Energy (MRM-KE) precision projectile. The test took place at the Yuma Proving Grounds, Yuma Ariz. ATK fired the round from an M1 Abrams main battle tank. After exiting the barrel, the rocket motor ignited to propel the round to a speed of approximately Mach 4. During the test flight, the projectile performed a series of pre-programmed maneuvers designed to assess its agility in a high Mach regime. All test objectives were achieved. In addition to maneuvering, the round achieved its range target of more than five and one half miles.

ATK's unique projectile design employs a number of embedded thrusters that give it significant maneuvering capability at high speeds. At the same time, by limiting the number of moving parts, the round is capable of surviving the significant G-forces associated with gun-launched projectiles. The MRM-KE projectile will provide the U.S. Army with an advanced weapon system designed to defeat enemy targets at significant stand-off ranges.

ATK's tactical MRM is a kinetic energy projectile integrating a millimeter wave seeker, a semi-active laser seeker and embedded thrusters for use with current and future 120mm platforms. It will engage and destroy existing and future threats under a wide range of conditions and is another offering in ATK's family of reliable, effective and affordable precision projectiles. ATK is also developing the Army's Precision Guided Mortar Munition (PGMM) and the Navy's Extended Range Munition (ERM).

All three programs utilize ATK's unmatched expertise in gun-hardened electronics and projectile design. With no moving parts, ATK's MRM offers high reliability and low cost. The embedded thrusters provide maneuverability and the capability to withstand the high G-forces generated during launch from a 120mm gun system.

The MRM program is jointly developed and managed by the Army Research and Development Command (ARDEC) and the Office of the Project Manager - Maneuver Ammunition Systems (OPM-MAS) at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

As of 2007 ARDEC S&T was developing two competing concepts with industry partners Raytheon and ATK. Launched in 2002, the MRM program is entering a 63-month system design and development phase. Two industry teams recently tested rounds at the Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey: Raytheon-General Dynamics (GD), whose round is guided by a 3-inch infrared camera, and ATK, whose round uses millimeter-wave radar engineered to see through smoke, clouds and fog.

Army officials expected to release a request for proposals to produce the rounds. Each is expected to cost between $25,000 and $30,000.



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