The UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has awarded a contract to QinetiQ for the assessment of active protection systems (APS) for armoured vehicles.
The contract has been awarded as part of the MEDUSA Technical Assessment Programme (TAP).
Under the £7.6m contract, QinetiQ will validate the performance of active protection systems against a range of weapon systems.
The assessment also includes the BAE Systems appliqué integration of a MUSS system onto a Challenger 2 main battle tank.
Based on the MUSS self-protection systems, active protection can defeat threats before they strike a vehicle by sensing them and providing a 'soft' response based on jamming or obscuration of the guidance mechanism, or a 'hard' response based on physical interception, Dstl said in a statement.
Dstl Land Integrated Survivability programme manager Heather Elsley said: "These systems have the potential to improve the survivability and situational awareness, with an ability to minimise the weight growth that could impede the mobility of vehicles.
"This project is the first step on this path for Land Platforms; our ultimate aim is to provide a fully integrated, modular and layered system that can detect, track and defeat a wide range of threats, whilst assisting the vehicle crew by providing situational awareness and target cueing."
As part of a sub-contract, Airbus Defence and Space, along with other companies, is responsible for delivering the systems for evaluation.
Textron and Frazer-Nash are among the partners contributing to the MEDUSA TAP.
British Army headquarters in Andover Combat Capability head brigadier Ian Gibb said: "The development of an effective active protection system would provide a hugely significant step change in the survivability of our platforms, particularly as we are reaching the technological limits of what passive armour can achieve.
"Initially, this capability is likely to have utility across all of our major battle-winning equipment programmes; Ajax, Warrior, Challenger 2 and the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle. But elements of APS should have applications across other platforms and systems too. We look forward to continuing to work alongside Dstl in this key project."
Image: Dstl awards a contract for assessment of active protection systems for armoured vehicles. Photo: courtesy of gov.uk.