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The British Army is looking for new protection technologies to counter the evolving threat posed by hostile advanced weapon systems. Leonardo has been selected by the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to lead a team of local companies to build such systems.

In fact, such technology is already operative – the Trophy system developed by Rafael is a combat proven active defense system installed on tanks and APCs.  

Under a Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP) called ‘Icarus’, the team will develop and demonstrate a way to affordably integrate ‘best of breed’ technologies in a category known as ‘Active Protection Systems’ (APS), preparing them for deployment across the Army’s fleet of land vehicles.

According to, part of the TDP will see the Leonardo team demonstrate and evaluate an operational prototype against ‘live fire’ weapon engagements.

The project is responding to an operational environment where armour by itself will not be sufficient to defend against the capabilities of future weapon systems, in particular threats such as Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and Anti-Tank Guided Weapons (ATGW). In order to counter this growing threat, a number of Active Protection Systems (APS)

technologies have been developed by industry and are available as off-the-shelf solutions to supplement the physical protection that is offered by an armoured vehicle.

APS technologies can be either ‘soft’ APS solutions that are focused on early threat detection and which attempt to disrupt, decoy or spoof the incoming threat or ‘hard’ APS systems that seek to defeat the incoming weapon system by physically intecepting it, known in military terminology as a ‘kinetic effect’.

The primary objective of the Icarus TDP is to develop and demonstrate a UK sovereign Modular, Integrated Protection System (MIPS) Electronic Architecture (EA) that enables “best of breed” APS sensors and countermeasures to be selected, integrated and deployed as necessary to defeat a wide range of current and future battlefield weapon threats. Not only must the architecture be easy to use, it must also be affordable and dependable and ultimately form the basis of a new MIPS defence standard, similar in principle to that which has been developed for the UK Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) standard.

Defense industries working with Leonardo to deliver the Icarus TDP are BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin UK, Ultra Electronics, Frazer-Nash, Brighton University, Abstract Solutions, Roke Manor Research and SCISYS.

Under the Icarus TDP, in conjunction with Dstl, the Leonardo team will establish and cultivate an industry APS Community of Interest (CoI). A key objective of this CoI initiative will encourage engagement across industry to help ensure the very best APS technologies available – now and in the future – are considered in the MIPS EA.