This program was a joint effort utilizing the combined assets of ARDEC's First Support Armaments Center and Close Combat Armament Center under the management of PM-TMAS. The program was structured to demonstrate a fire and forget, guided, boosted and "smart" tank fired kinetic energy projectile for highly accurate defeat of current and projected armor threats at ranges or at least 4km. The X-ROD projectile will extend the life to the M1A1 system, has sufficient lethality margin to counter threat improvement, and will increase the battle space available to U.S. forces of early engagement while requiring no increase in the ILS. The program was in development to demonstrate the guidance concept via a guide-to-hit experiment and the gun launched boosted system using unguided surrogates. The guidance technology had application to other systems such as helicopter launch air to ground and air to air missiles.
DARPA began the X-Rod program, which later developed into the Tank Extended Range Munitions-Kinetic Energy (TERM-KE) Program in the mid-1980s. The X-Rod, developed jointly between DARPA and the Balanced Technology Initiative (BTI) Program, was a long- range, millimeter-wave guided, rocketboosted, kinetic energy antiarmor tank projectile. The X-Rod Program was transitioned to the Army in 1992, while still in the technology demonstration stage.
DARPA developed and managed the X-Rod Program and selected the best combination of technologies to accomplish Army mission goals for such a system. The objective of the X-Rod Program was to develop a long-range tank round that would respond to a recommendation of the 1985 Defense Science Board (DSB) Summer Study to increase the battlespace by increasing the ranges at which targets can be acquired and attacked with direct fire weapons. Studies had shown that defending forces (such as NATO) did much better if they could engage effectively from further away than exposed attackers (such as the Warsaw Pact).
The Army was developing a long-range, rocket-boosted tank projectile known as RAKE (Rocket Assisted Kinetic Energy). However, there were concerns that at extreme ranges (such as three or more kilometers) the accuracy requirements would be too stringent for it to be highly effective. This concern was addressed by the X-Rod program (which one might describe as "Guided RAKE") when funding from the BTI became available in FY 1987.
The Army terminated the X-Rod Program in FY96 for affordability reasons. The Army was competing the X-Rod against its STAFF system with a downselection initially scheduled for FY 1998. For cost reasons the STAFF program was terminated in FY 98 with final close-out in FY00. The Tank Extended Range Munition (TERM) program was continued through congressional plus-ups. The program developed one of the TERM candidates.
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