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MATRIX / Spider

To respond to a myriad of situations across the range of military operations and to defeat attacks against forward operating bases, US forces must have improved capabilities that enable scalable force protection measures while enhancing operational and tactical flexibility.


Matrix was a portable, reusable, soldier-in-the-loop system that can be used in either a lethal, or a non-lethal mode. This new, smart barrier defense system called MATRIX enables both lethal and non-lethal area defense. Matrix was a portable, battery-operated munitions control system that allows soldiers to identify an appropriate target and select a proper defensive attack from a remote location. The Matrix system uses a laptop computer to remotely control both lethal M-18 claymore munitions and nonlethal M-5 modular crowd-control devices, which contain rubber pellets. Matrix was ideal for firebase security, landing-zone security, and both infrastructure and check-point protection.

Alliant Techsystems [ATK] developed Matrix with its joint venture partner Textron Systems for the Project Manager Close Combat Systems and the U.S. Army Armaments, Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), both based at the Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

Alliant and Textron, based in Providence, RI, won a $54 million contract in 2002 to begin developing the weapon system in a 50-50 joint venture. On 21 January 2005 Alliant Techsystems was notified that the U.S. Army would accelerate fielding of the Matrix remote munitions control system. Twenty-five Matrix systems would be delivered to U.S. forces in Iraq by June 2005. The Army would field Matrix in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with its newest fighting force, the Stryker Brigade. Harris Corporation, a leading supplier of secure, tactical radios for defense forces worldwide, announced 17 February 2005 that it had been awarded a contract from the US Army to provide radio equipment as part of the Army`s Matrix remote munitions control system.

Spider XM-7 Network Command Munition

A follow-on program to Matrix was the ATK/Textron Systems Spider program, an advanced man-in-the-loop area denial system designed to give US forces unmatched capability for perimeter defense, flank protection and more.

Spider was an advanced, man-in-the-loop, area denial munition. It will protect the warfighter by laying down either a lethal or non-lethal field of fire yet puts complete command and control in the hands of the soldier. Spider offered remotely controlled force protection while enhancing the operational and tactical flexibility of forces in the field.

Spider gives U.S. forces an unmatched capability for perimeter defense and flank protection. It can be used for offensive or defensive engagements. Spider systems can be easily recovered and readied for a new deployment if they have not been fired.

After the battle was over, Spider systems will deactivate so that they do not pose a threat or residual hazard. Not only was a soldier in complete control of the munition at all times, the soldier can select to engage the enemy with individual munitions rather than the entire system and can chose lethal or non-lethal options.

Spider was developed by ATK with its joint venture partner Textron.

The Army uses Spider instead of persistent landmines to comply with the requirements of the 2004 National Landmine Policy. The Army fielded Spider Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) systems to deployed and non-deployed units during 2012. At the request of the Army, DOT&E published a Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production (BLRIP) report in February 2012 to support a Full-Rate Production (FRP) decision in 2012. Following publication of this report, the Army postponed the Spider FRP decision until 3QFY13. The Army continued corrective actions to address Spider deficiencies with system reliability, complexity, and training reported in the February 2012 DOT&E Spider BLRIP Report. DOT&E will report on the operational effectiveness, suitability, and survivability of the Spider system early in 2013 following a third FOT&E. Based on analysis conducted to date, Spider has demonstrated effectiveness and lethality with poorly demonstrated suitability.

The Army intends to use Spider as a landmine alternative to satisfy the anti-personnel munition requirements outlined in the 2004 National Landmine Policy that directs the DoD to: End use of persistent landmines after 2010: and Incorporate self-destructing and self-deactivating technologies in alternatives to current persistent landmines.

A Spider munition field includes: Up to 63 Munition Control Units, each housing up to 6 miniature grenade launchers or munition adapter modules for remote electrical and non-electrical firing capabilities; A remote control station, used by the operator to maintain “man-in-the-loop” control of all munitions in a field; A communications relay device known as a “repeater” for use in difficult terrain or at extended ranges.

Spider incorporates self-destructing and self-deactivating technologies to reduce residual risks to non-combatants.

Spider has demonstrated effectiveness and lethality. A properly trained unit can successfully emplace and operate a Spider munition field in order to provide doctrinal protective obstacle effects – warn of threat activity and mitigate or prevent threat actions.

By 2012 Spider had demonstrated poor suitability. Spider is more complex than its predecessor system and requires Soldiers to receive extensive initial and sustainment training to maintain proficiency. The Spider system’s Munition Control Unit has not demonstrated the required reliability in a comprehensive operationally realistic environment. Extensive battery management requirements and increased unit transportation requirements create a logistics planning challenge for units employing Spider

Spider Increment 1A is an upgrade to the fielded Increment 1 system. The Increment 1A system has the requirement to fire anti-vehicular, obstacle-producing munitions and to operate seamlessly with mission command systems. The upgrade is backwards compatible with the Spider Increment 1 system.

The Army conducted a Limited User Test (LUT) in 3QFY16. During the LUT, Spider Increment 1A demonstrated no new capability over the fielded system. Units accomplished their missions using Spider Increment 1A, but Increment 1A did not meet its reliability requirement and had cybersecurity vulnerabilities during the test. Increment 1A demonstrated significant reliability problems during the LUT. The reliability threshold is 0.96 probability of having no failures during a 72-hour mission. During the LUT, the system computer achieved a 0.65 probability of completing a mission without a failure.


M152 Remote Activation Munition System (RAMS)

RAMS is a secure, radio-controlled system designed to remotely control demolition charges. RAMS gives the user the capability to destroy, delay and disrupt an enemy while avoiding direct contact. It consists of a transmitter and two types of receivers, an electric output to initiate blasting caps and an explosive output to initiate C4 or other items directly. Prior to engagement, operators can perform a full power range data link test to make sure all signals are active through an automatic self-test that is built into the transmitter and receivers. RAMS is lightweight, just over three pounds for the transmitter and receiver, and has a system range of more than five kilometers.

The M152 RAMS is produced for special operations forces. The Marines Corps and Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) use the MK152 version.

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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:44:19 ZULU