SAAB and Wipro join forces for LEDS in India


SAAB and Wipro, an Indian IT services company, have signed a teaming agreement to manufacture, deliver and market the Saab LEDS system in India.

The agreement was signed at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) show in London last week.

LEDS (land electronic defence system) combines active signature management and soft and hard-kill mechanisms to provide full-spectrum active protection for land vehicles. It can defeat a range of threats, including RPGs and anti-tank missiles.

The teaming builds on earlier agreements between SAAB and Wipro and has been established to prepare for a series of requests for proposals that are expected from the Indian MoD in the near future. “There’s a lot of investment in India in vehicles,” said Håkan Kappelin, marketing manager, SAAB Electronic Defence Systems. To be ready to answer RfPs “requires that we establish partnerships for local assembly, leading to full local production”.

Kappelin noted that the teaming provided a platform for co-development in the future, and also highlighted the cost advantages of potentially having production facilities in India with regard to the international market.

The South Africa-designed and developed technology is fast becoming one of the international benchmarks for active protection solution (APSs), SAAB says, adding that LEDS has already realised its first sale to a NATO customer and attracted significant international interest as an Active Protection Solution. The system has been procured by the Dutch army for its BAE Hägglunds CV90 tracked IFVs. It has 192 of the vehicles in service.

LEDS has been selected also by General Dynamics European Land Systems as the preferred active defence system (ADS) for its Piranha (8×8) APC family after a worldwide study of more than 20 ADS currently under development or approaching the end of their development.

Nexter Systems of France last month announced it had completed installation and testing of the LEDS onto a French Army AMX-10RCR (Rénové) armoured reconnaissance vehicle as part of a research and development study that could see the system integrated onto a variety of French Army vehicles. In mid-July reported that the LEDS-50 system had been successfully integrated onto an AMX-10RCR as part of a research and development contract awarded by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) in June 2008 for the development of a projectile early warning system for armoured vehicles. The modified AMX-10 undertook technical and operational demonstrations in May near Reims.

LEDS can detect a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) within 5 milliseconds of launch and calculate whether the grenade will hit or miss the carrier vehicle within a further 10 milliseconds. The active defence controller then determines the validity of the threat within a further 10 milliseconds before taking less than 50 milliseconds to compute an intercept. It then takes 10 milliseconds to launch and a further 50 milliseconds for the “effects deployment”.

The basic LEDS-50 warns the crew of a vehicle fitted with the system that they are in the beam of a laser. The system can deal with up to eight threats simultaneously, while providing analysis on the nature of the threat based on the spectral band used.

LEDS-100 adds jammers and decoys, while LEDS-150 brings the Denel Dynamics Mongoose 1 counter-munition. LEDS-100 confuses enemy weapons operators and incoming rounds by deploying multispectral smoke in their line of sight or flight, hiding the target vehicle. The smoke and an optional infrared jammer interfere with the acquisition and/or tracking, ranging, launching or guidance of a hostile weapon. LEDS-150 destroys incoming RPG rounds or launched as close as 20 metres from the carrier vehicle with the Mongoose projectiles, allowing it to intercept rounds fired “from across the street”.

Further evolutions of LEDS and Mongoose are on the way. LEDS 200 will be able to defeat multi-band seekers and LEDS-300 kinetic energy and “stand-off attack” weapons. LEDS-200 will rapidly deploy a multispectral coating that provides effective signature management against tri-band (CCD, IR, millimetre-wave radar) threats – and – also extinguishes fires. The latter will be a very useful feature against attacks from “petrol bombs” (“Molotov cocktails)”. Janes in June 2008 reported from the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris that LEDS 300 would expand the system’s capability to counter kinetic energy “long rod” and smart standoff threats. The concept was “tested successfully … in South Africa [in 2007] and is scheduled to be ready for operations in 2012.”

The current ballistic Mongoose 1 typically defeats an RPG-7 within roughly 6 metres of the carrier vehicle as the about 135 milliseconds required for the intercept process translates into 14 metres of range for a RPG-7 fired at 20 metres. A proposed guided Mongoose 2 and -3 will take the intercept envelope to 50 metres and a Mongoose 4 to beyond 300 metres.

To further limit friendly casualties, the Mongoose’s warhead is designed to detonate in a flat ring pattern. To limit the firing of the incoming RPG’s warhead, which would create the very armour penetrating “jet” the system is seeking to prevent, the Mongoose detonates a shaped charge in the immediate proximity of the incoming round, striking it in the side, resulting in a blast pattern that is parallel to the line of flight and leaving the detonator unfired.

The Reutech Radar Systems FMCW 3-dimensional radar that makes the intercepts possible contains no moving parts and combines simple antennas and simple hardware to provide the means for highly accurate detection and tracking of small, fast moving projectiles against complex clutter backgrounds.