Oerlikon Ahead ammunition technology – a reliable answer to the RAM threat
Military installations such as forward operating bases are vulnerable to rocket, artillery and mortar (RAM) attacks, a threat that also extends to civilian infrastructure in many parts of the world. Indeed, such weapons have become tools of choice in asymmetric conflicts, with militants carrying out attacks with ever-smaller, ever-more effective projectiles – with little or no warning and often launched from built-up areas. A core element of Rheinmetall’s response to the RAM threat is its Oerlikon Ahead technology, which the company – one of the world’s most respected defence contractors – is presenting at IDEX 2011.
Along with ECM-proof sensors, C4I technology and effectors (in this case, 35mm revolver guns with a high rate of fire), ammunition too is destined to play an increasingly important role in defeating the RAM threat the Rheinmetall way. The company’s 35mm x 228 Ahead ammunition significantly enhances the combat effectiveness of modern automatic cannon. As the rounds leave the barrel, the time delay fuse in each projectile is programmed to eject its lethal payload of spin-stabilized tungsten cylinders at the optimum moment, taking into account the distance to the target and the round’s initial velocity.
Owing to their high kinetic energy, Ahead projectiles and the sub-ammunition they contain are able to destroy small and even very small targets very reliably – with an effect comparable to a shotgun shell hitting a clay pigeon. The ability to alter the time of ejection enables Ahead ammunition to deal effectively with a wide array of current and future battlefield threats, while keeping collateral damage to an absolute minimum.
Ahead ammunition, resulting in an ordnance-based air defence capability that enables successful engagement of small and very small targets, gives Rheinmetall a unique edge in this critical domain. The system has now been operational for 13 years, during which time it has proved highly reliable – a fact confirmed by the sharp increase in demand for this product in the international defence market. Ahead technology also plays a critical role in the short- and very-short-range protection system (MOOTW) which Rheinmetall is currently developing on behalf of the German Bundeswehr. This MOOTW system marks a new chapter in the development of SysFla, the Bundeswehr’s comprehensive new air defence capability.
This product underscores Rheinmetall’s role as one of the world’s foremost – and most efficient – suppliers of modular weapon systems. In an age where fresh security challenges can literally spring up overnight, being quick off the mark provides a vital edge, enabling a swift, flexible response to new threats.
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