Armor: October 4, 2004


Someone in the Department of Defense, with a twisted sense of irony or humor,  has dubbed the vehicle that will carry a non-lethal microwave weapon in Iraq, the "Sheriff." The Office of Force Transformation expects to send between  four and six Active Denial Systems (ADS) to Iraq by September 2005. The ADS gear will be  mounted on Marine Corps' LAV, U.S Army's Stryker or M1117 Armored Security Vehicle. The microwave system is designed to cause a painful, burning sensation to skin, discomforting attackers until they get out of the way of the line-of-sight weapon. Range of the system is between 500 and 1,000 meters. 

Sheriff will also be fitted with two other new features, an active protection system and an anti-sniper weapon. The active protection system is designed to intercept and/or deflect rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. A low-power radar detects an in-bound threat and fire off a round towards the inbound threat out of the vehicle's smoke grenade launcher. A simple radar sensor in the round would detect when it is abreast of the inbound projectile. The round detonates, creating a cloud of shrapnel to destroy the threat. One of the tricks has been to create a cloud of shrapnel powerful and dense enough to successfully defeat an inbound round but not so powerful as to pose a threat to friendly personnel nearby. Two contractors have demonstrated active protective systems that have successfully intercepted RPGs and anti-tank missiles. Since the RPG is arguably the insurgent weapon of choice in trouble spots around the world, the Pentagon will be paying close attention as to how well the active protection system works and if it can be effectively fitted to and used by helicopters as well as armored vehicles. 

The anti-sniper weapon is called Gunslinger and consists of a rapid-fire gun with a sensor that will detect sniper fire and a computer to direct the gun at the threat and automatically fire back. Little information is being released on the system other than it has been developed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren, VA. 

Sheriff's combination of new protection systems indicates that project managers have been thinking a lot about the relatively vulnerability of Sheriff to attack strategies to protect it since it won't be toting either a 25mm cannon or a squad of infantry to protect it Doug Mohney




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