The European Defence Agency’s ‘Mission Abort System for Guided Ammunition’ (MAS) project, launched late 2013, has successfully demonstrated a generic system to cancel the flight of gun launched precision ammunition, when the projectile exits the pre-defined safety corridor.
The project, sponsored by both the German and Italian MoDs in the frame of EDA’s Capability Technology (CapTech) Ammunition Technologies group, addresses the challenge that affects most European shooting ranges: they are too narrow and too short to adhere to the necessary safety areas for shooting tests with guided ammunition.
So as to enable European shooting ranges to perform this test firing, a generic mission abort system was designed and demonstrated. In the event of a deviation from the predefined flight path, the system will break down the projectile into two parts and these parts will not leave the surface danger area. The project progressed through several phases from concept through to overall design, more detailed designs, construction, integration, and design verification tests.
The aerodynamic analysis, safety area calculations, and reliability analysis were also undertaken. The final test consisted of firing of two MAS demonstrators with the Howitzer PzH2000 and was conducted at Meppen Proving Ground (WTD91) in Germany in the third quarter of 2016.
The feasibility of mission abort systems for guided ammunition was successfully proven. This represents an important step towards the utilisation of European test ranges in the performance of guided ammunition tests. Possible miniaturisation of electronic components could facilitate the integration of MAS into rounds with calibres smaller than 70 mm. Another possibility might be the implementation of MAS into operational ammunition.
The demonstrator was developed by Diehl BGT Defence and Finmeccanica and the test projectile used was the Vulcano 155mm (subcaliber 92 mm).
Picture copyright: Diehl/Leonardo