News Article

Army to get new precision "search and destroy" anti-armour weapon

An Equipment and Logistics news article

20 Nov 07

The Army's current AS90 guns are to get a sophisticated new weapon that can more accurately seek out and destroy hostile armoured vehicles at long range - up to 22.5 kilometres, day and night, in all weathers and in difficult terrain.

The Ballistic Sensor Fused Munition  [Picture: MOD]

The Ballistic Sensor Fused Munition (BSFM), consists of a shell that can be fired from the AS90 artillery gun. The munitions are dropped by parachute, using sensors to seek out enemy targets as they drift down
[Picture: MOD]

This new smart weapon, the Ballistic Sensor Fused Munition (BSFM), consists of a shell that can be fired from the AS90 artillery gun. The munitions are dropped by parachute, using sensors to seek out enemy targets as they drift down. The introduction of this new 'smart' technology will enable the artillery to target the enemy with much greater accuracy and will greatly reduce collateral damage.

The MOD ran a competition for the BSFM requirement which resulted in two tenders being received from off-shore companies: GIWS, of Germany and BAE Systems BOFORS, of Sweden. GIWS were the preferred supplier following a full assessment of both tenders. Missiles and Batteries Ltd (MSB) in Scotland have been awarded a contract by GIWS, valued at £1.5 million, to produce the batteries.

BSFM will address a current limited ability to attack armoured targets beyond the range of direct fire systems. Each round will contain two Sensor Fused Munitions (SFM) which, following expulsion over the target area, will deploy on parachutes and enter a search pattern seeking armoured targets using Infra Red and/or radar sensors.

Upon detecting a target the sub-munitions will fire an explosive projectile that perforates the top armour of the target. The munitions will contain a fail-safe mechanism that will enable the munition to self-destruct if a target is not detected.

Brigadier Mark Milligan, Leader of the Artillery Systems Integrated Project Team (IPT) at Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), said:

"I am delighted that the Artillery Systems IPT will now develop the new Ballistic Sensor Fused Munition as the first component of the Indirect Fire Precision Programme. It represents a step change in the capability of our AS90 regiments and will significantly improve the Army's fighting power."

The British Army AS 90 155mm self-propelled gun  [Picture: British Army]

The British Army AS 90 155mm self-propelled gun can fire projectiles up to 30km using standard ammunition, and 60-80km with Extended Range Ammunition (ERA)
[Picture: British Army]

The BSFM is the first component of the £1.5 billion Category A Indirect Fire Precision Attack (IFPA) procurement programme. The IFPA programme envisages a mix of five munitions, acquired incrementally, which will provide the British Army with a new capability to attack and destroy high value targets, such as enemy armoured vehicles, including tanks, and fortifications, at ranges up to 300km, around the clock and in all weather conditions. It will consist of munitions for both gun and rocket launcher platforms and will build to full capability by 2017. Wargaming has concluded that IFPA will be a key battle winner in any future conflict.

Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, said:

"I am pleased to announce the £83m contract award for the development and supply of Ballistic Sensor Fused Munitions (BSFM). We are equipping our army with the precision attack weapons to meet the challenges of modern operations.

"New technology is allowing us to use highly accurate, precisely targeted weapons, reducing both the numbers of weapons we need to deploy and the risk of collateral damage.

"The BSFM will be fired from existing AS90 guns and this project follows our investment in highly accurate long-range guided rockets now deployed by the Royal Artillery in Afghanistan."

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