Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DE&S: Armour and new equipment gives rocket system extra punch

DE&S: Armour and new equipment gives rocket system extra punch

An Equipment and Logistics news article
30 Sep 08

A major project to provide enhanced protection for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) has been completed by a Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) team based in Bristol.

The GMLRS system and its 70km-range multiple guided rockets have been a huge success in Afghanistan, providing land forces with their first organic precision fire capability. Around 140 rockets have been fired since going into service last year.

Now the GMLRS team, located within the Artillery Systems Integrated Project Team (IPT) at MOD Abbey Wood in Bristol, has completed urgent operational requirements (UORs) to give extra armour and equipment to enhance protection and help make the life of its three-strong crew safer and more comfortable.

Bar armour surrounds the cab with appliqué armour plates beneath, while under the vehicle mine protection plating has been added, all of which contributes to much higher levels of protection against rocket propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.

Inside the cab are new energy absorbing seats and an enhanced day and night vision capability from three thermal imaging cameras with screens for driver and vehicle commander. There is also a machine gun, a wire cutter and air conditioning to help the crew when conditions in Helmand province turn hot. With the extra weight the vehicle carries, the suspension has been upgraded.

The time available to design, trial and fit all the systems in the UK and therefore ensure full system integration and give the crews time to familiarise themselves before deploying was limited:

"It is a very successful piece of kit and the feedback we are getting from the front line is very positive," said Den Parrett, the team's technical support manager for rockets.

"Since deployment in June last year, all the vehicles have remained 100 per cent operationally available, which is a remarkable achievement, especially as each vehicle is often fully switched on for up to 48 hours.

"The business case for the UORs was signed in March 2007 and the vehicles deployed in May this year. It has been hard work in a short time, but very satisfying. These UORs will make life a lot safer and more comfortable for the crew."

Armour, seats and the night vision equipment were provided by Lockheed Martin Insys, electronic equipment by Dytecna, and the Defence Support Group carried out the integration and fitting work at Donnington. A wide range of electronic and automotive trials were conducted mostly by QinetiQ.

Mr Parrett added:

"Everyone involved can take a lot of pride in the superb additional capability they have delivered. Contractors worked extremely hard in producing the various kits, in particular the outstanding work DSG Donnington carried out in fitting all the systems and getting the vehicles completed in time for deployment."

This article first appeared in the September 2008 edition of Desider: the magazine for Defence Equipment and Support.

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