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FCLAS - Full Spectrum Active Protection (FSAP) Close-In Layered Shield

The Full Spectrum Active Protection (FSAP) Close-In Layered Shield, or FCLAS, is a TARDEC-led vehicle countermeasure project executed in conjunction with the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Department of Energy. Full-Spectrum Active Protection is intended to be a "leap-ahead" capability in combat vehicle survivability to effectively defeat all known anti-armor threats within the "hemisphere surrounding the vehicle".

TARDEC developed FCLAS under the Full Spectrum Active Protection Program Science and Technology Objective III.GV.1999.01. FSAP detects, tracks, intercepts and physically defeats large-caliber threats at a distance sufficiently far from the defended vehicle to reduce the lethal effects of the threat and assures vehicle survival. The FSAP STO was so successful that FCLAS became a STO in its own right: III.GC.2004.06.

Northrop Grumman Corp. Electric Systems, Azusa, Calif., was awarded a $300,000 increment as part of a $9,996,473 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development and upgrading of their patented sensor and deliver vehicle concepts for a Full Spectrum Active Protection System Projectile Development and Demonstration for combat vehicle and high value assets on Nov. 8, 2002. Work will be performed in Azusa and is to be completed by Nov. 30, 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This was a sole-source contract initiated on Oct. 18, 2002. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (DAAE30-03-C-1005).

The objective of this effort is to deliver a demonstrated FCLAS system which provides close in hemispherical protection for ground combat and tactical vehicles, fixed installations, rotary wing aircraft and small watercraft. FCLAS will defeat rocket-propelled grenades, small antitank guided missiles, DPICMS, smart mines, man-portable stinger-class munitions and high-energy antitank rounds from recoilless rifles.

A fully functional FCLAS system will consist of three components: the countermunition, launcher, and system controller. The countermunition searches for, tracks and intercepts incoming threats. The launcher is a flexible design and has the ability to be adapted to meet the needs of each platform that utilizes FCLAS. The system controller maintains central control over the FCLAS launchers and countemunitions. FCLAS can be easily integrated onto any vehicle platform-coupled with armor it will provide robust protection against the RPG.

The tank-automotive center's Full Spectrum Active Protection Close-In Layered Shield protects Army vehicle crews against close-in attacks from hand-held, high-explosive antitank threats, such as rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. The Active Protection System incorporates acoustic and infrared sensors to locate signatures. The system reacts to a potential threat by destroying it before it hits a vehicle.

The Full Spectrum Active Protection Close-in Layered Shield 6-pound countermeasure rounds defend Army vehicle crews against close-in attacks from hand-held, high-explosive antitank threats, such as rocket-propelled grenades and small antitank-guided missiles.

The Close-In Layered Shield complements a long-range system or can be used as a stand-alone system. It is the first self-contained, lightweight, close-in US active protection system surpassing all other world capabilities. Within half a second, it conducts surveillance and target acquisition, tracks the threat, and launches, fuzes and detonates the countermeasure to defeat the incoming threat.

If the Army fielded this system, it would significantly impact battlefield capabilities, especially in urban environments, by saving lives and equipment. Further, it has proven successful versus various types of threats in recent field testing. There's a real need to address the close-in threat.

The new shield is a permanent fix, rather than a quick fix, to defeat close-in threats. It is a cross-technology solution integrating countermeasure, radar, digital signal processing and explosives in a small, safe self-contained assembly ready for loading into either a smoke tube or an upgraded tube. Despite the shield's inventiveness, it boasts elegant simplicity in design. It is simple, inexpensive and effective-and leverages technologies from existing programs.

The shield would be easily integratable into emerging vehicle concepts or legacy platforms, because vehicle designers, engineers, soldiers and contractors are already familiar with smoke tube launchers. Additionally, it would prove beneficial to other services and federal agencies. For example, it can be easily integrated into several U.S. Marine Corps vehicles and Navy weapons systems; would provide protection for Air Force rotary wing aircraft and potentially could defend fixed wing aircraft against close-in attacks; would enhance Special Forces rotary wing aircraft and specialty vehicle survivability; can be leveraged by other federal agencies like the Departments of Energy and Treasury to combat terrorist threats against key buildings, facilities and vehicles; and can be used to protect oil refineries, power plants and other critical assets.

FCLAS complements a long-range system or can stand alone by providing vehicle protection for extremely close-in attacks from hand-held High-Energy Antitank rounds such as rocket-propelled grenades, small antitank guided missiles, and the like. It is easily integrated into existing, fielded smoke-tube launchers or TARDEC-designed programmable launchers.

Its impact on Army capabilities include:

  • increased soldier survivability
  • increased combat vehicle, convoy and support truck survivability
  • emplacement protection (tents, buildings, key assets)
  • minimal integration burden
  • applicable to Current or Future Force combat and tactical vehicles and rotary wing aircraft
  • surpasses all other world survivability capabilities - it is a permanent fix vs. a quick fix
  • FCLAS is the first self-contained, light-weight close-in U.S. active protection system.




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