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Trigat

Trigat was a European missile program involving France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The missiles were being developed by the Euromissile Dynamics Group, a consortium composed of Aerospatiale (France), MBD/UK (United Kingdom) and Daimler Benz Aerospace (Germany). The missile had a tandem, high explosive hollow charge which can defeat modern Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) equipped targets.

Duplication of effort was most apparent between the different Nato nations' munitions programs; several initiatives having been directed towards overcoming the problem by collaborative R&D programs. The European TRIGAT programme for an advanced anti-armour munition was a case in point. Too often however, such programs have foundered because of differing military needs, whether of performance, cost or timescale. Both the European Fighter Aircraft program and the TRIGAT system program are managed by multi-national groups closely related to consortia organized for similar programs in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Trigat was to be guided by a laser beam or infrared-imaging homing head. Its general arrangement was similar to Milan and was equipped with a Thermal Imaging sight to allow engagement to maximum range by day or night, in all weather conditions. Beam riding guidance also finds continuing applications, particularly where small munition size made a seeker impractical. The extent to which the development of high-performance low-cost seekers would alter the situation is uncertain because of the proven capability of present CLOS systems and the heavy investment in tracking and command equipments already made. However, the European TRIGAT long-range infantry/helicopter anti-armor missile utilised seeker-based homing guidance.

The Shtora-1 defense system was designed to increase the survivability of vehicles from attack from ATGMs with a SACLOS guidance system as well as from missiles and artillery projectiles that use laser illumination. A laser warning system on a tank would detect the threat laser system, either a range finder or laser designator, and automatically orient the turret in the direction of the threat, then trigger grenade launchers that create an aerosol cloud. The screen takes about three seconds to form, lasts about 20 seconds and covers an area 50-70 meters. The Shtora-1 developers claim the cloud will screen the tank from lasers. This may be of limited value against another tank since the initial laze from the laser will have given the tank commander the correct range enabling it to fire at least one accurate shot through the smoke screen. Against a laser guided ATGM such as the TRIGAT, the cloud could potentially succeed in preventing the gunner from being able to track his target. Unless the tank moves away from his original line to the target, along which the system automatically fired the aerosol cloud, the ATGM is still likely to hit the tank.

TRIGAT was developed in two variations, TRIGAT-MR for medium range applications and TRIGAT-LR for long range applications. The missile was also known as PARS-3, Panzerabwehr Rakensystem 3 (Armour defence rocket system 3 in the German language), and AC 3G, AntiChar de 3e Generation (Anti-tank of the Third Generation in French).

The TRIGAT LR missile had been developed by the Euromissile consortium, funded by the UK and Germany. Range was 500 meters to 5000 meters. Swingfire missiles, mounted on Striker CVR(T) vehicles, were planned to remain in service with armoured reconnaissance regiments until replaced by Long Range TRIGAT from the mid-1990s. The firing rate for salvo firing was quoted as up to four missiles in eight seconds. TRIGAT LR can be applied in direct attack or terminal dive attack modes.

The development of the Trigat (medium-range) continued, but France had withdrawn from the Trigat LR (long-range) project. Long Range Trigat was a ten year development project. This meant that the original contract money ensured only that the missile would be developed (to the stage of manufacturing design), not that it would necessarily go into production.

MR TRIGAT was a crew portable MR ATGW system which was to replace MILAN in the armed forces of the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. France and Germany signed the MOU for the next phase. The British Army was to get the Medium Range (MR) TRIGAT project to provide its principal Medium Range Anti-Tank Guided Weapon System (ATGWS), in collaboration with France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The UK was also considering procurement of a lighter system for deployment with airborne and commando units. The UK signed the memorandum of understanding in April 1988 indicating formal United Kingdom participation with France and Germany in the collaborative full development of both medium and long range Trigat weapons. The development cost to the United Kingdom of the Trigat anti-tank missile system programs was in the order of 300 million at current economic conditions. Contracts with industry for this development work were then being finalised. Trigat was to be developed to meet the threat in the mid-1990s and beyond. A development contract was awarded in September 1988 for the important TRIGAT missile project. Once the production contract had been let, the program was to transfer to management by OCCAR, the armaments co-operation organisation formed in 1996 by the UK, France, Germany and Italy.

MR TRIGAT industrialisation and production had a total value to the partner nations of about Pounds Sterling 1bn. The British Army will buy 45% of all the systems produced, with the signing expected to spur action by Belgium and the Netherlands, according to manufacturers Matra BAe Dynamics, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace/LFK, and Aerospatiale Matra Missiles. The companies will make 1,600 firing units, 1,200 thermal sights, and more than 35,000 medium-range Trigats, with a global value of more than 8 billion French francs, about $1.33 billion U.S. at current rates of exchange, over a 10-year period.

The UK signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Industrialisation and Production phase of MR TRIGAT in June 1999 in the expectation that they would shortly proceed to contract and maintain the program to deliver a modern Anti-tank Guided Weapon capability by 2005 (when stocks of the existing MILAN system would start to run down). British Light forces used the MILAN anti-tank missile which was developed in the late 1970s and had become increasingly less effective due to advances in modern tank armour. MILAN was due to go out of service in 2007 with Javelin as a direct replacement.

By February 2000 Germany, France and UK, as the major participants in the program, had signed the MR TRIGAT Industrialisation and Production Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Netherlands and Belgium had still to sign, though it was expected that decisions would be made by both nations by Spring 2000, once their Governmental and Parliamentary procedures were complete. The Industrialisation and Production contract had now been initialled by the Prime Contractor Aerospatiale but was awaiting completion of the MOU signatory process before it was formally notified (and placed) by France, acting as the contracting authority on behalf of the participating states. Despite the delay in signing the MOU by the Netherlands and Belgium, contract placement by Spring 2000 would, on current plans, maintain the program on schedule to meet the UK's in-service date.

By June Belgium and the Netherlands had yet to sign. This has delayed the placing of the MR TRIGAT Industrialisation and Production contract by over 12 months. The situation was further complicated by a request from Germany to reduce the number of equipments envisaged when that country signed the MOU. These uncertainties cast significant doubt on whether (and when) a contract based on the existing MOU would be possible.

On 28 July 2000 the UK announced that the Medium Range TRIGAT anti-tank weapon that was in collaborative development with France and Germany to replace MILAN would not be suitable for Light Forces use. The UK scrapped plans to adopt the MR Trigat anti-tank missile in the face of `unacceptable delay and uncertainty' to the project. The joint-European project was already 10 years behind schedule and had cost 100m. a total of 155 million written off in connection with medium-range TRIGAT. With TRIGAT in particular, the MOD took far too long to meet the armed forces' needs: the project took 26 years, and delivery was still not expected until two years after it had been cancelled.

Failure of this existing development project led to the need to find a quick solution. The military Customer requested that the Project Team look for options to replace the capability through buying or modifying an existing system that was on the market. A bespoke development programme was ruled out. A challenging in-service deadline of late 2005 was set which demanded the Assessment Phase be conducted within a 12 month timescale.

A Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team was awarded a contract for AGM-114 Hellfire II anti-tank missiles for use with Frances forty Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters. DGA selected Hellfire in June 2007, in large part because of the failure of the multinational Euromissile TriGAT-LR originally proposed for the Tiger.



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