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Shark Active Protection System

The French Ministry of Defense is supporting the development of a derivative of the IBD's ADS system known as Shark. In the works since 2004, the system is currently being tested on a modified VAB armored personnel carrier, equipped with multiple modules, including the interceptors, control systems and sensors. The system is designed for simultaneous intercept of multiple treats and is designed to respond to threats within a 15 meter distance.

The system is developed under cooperation between Thales and IBD. It is designed to protect armored fighting vehicles from shaped charge (RPGs and anti-tank missiles) and IED while degrading the potential threat of KE threats. The system utilizes the distributed architecture developed by IBD, which provides full 360 degrees hemispherical coverage, with distributed, overlapping sensor-countermeasures modules located all around the vehicle. Each module covers a specific sector, detecting any threat fired toward the vehicle and engaging it by blast effect at close-in range, specifically designed to comply with operational restrictions of urban environment. SHARK requires about 560 microseconds to detect, analyze, and launch a countermeasure. At this time, an incoming missile or RPG will travel some 15 meters – which is the minimum safety zone which should be protected by the system. The French developers claim that by using distributed modules and close-in intercept, their system achieves much faster reaction time, about 40% less of competing systems, while operating at much shorter range.

The system is designed to protect from multiple attacks. Maintaining reaction time of less than one milisecond (from threat detection to kill), engaging targets at at close range (about 15 meters) and in different directions. SHARK is designed to operate under all weather conditions and is agnostic to the vehicle's or turret attitude.

To enable the system to operate at extremely short response characteristic with such a range, The French MOD supported the development of an ultra-fast electro-optical laser fuse and command subsystem.enabling system response rates within less than 10ms utilizing an electro-optical system. A similar protection by caseless explosive charge, developed by Verseidag was also presented. While this armor is generally classified as 'reactive armor', its concept of operation is similar to the active protection explosive system.

Expended cartridges used to intercept RPG rockets in trials. Note the explosion marks left on cases. The sensors associated wit each module can be seen on the sides. Photo: Defense Update


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