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EDF-2021-GROUND-R-IW: Improved warheads

Defeating improved protection systems of main combat platforms, hardened targets and reinforced (critical) infrastructures remains a focal challenge for military operations. Enhanced effects on targets, like blast, perforation, penetration, shock, bubble effects or electromagnetic pulse, are required to defeat such advanced protection systems. In this way, the development of new types of warheads with higher performance is required. Activities should cover the research on an enhanced penetration performance.

In recent years, new threats have emerged on the battlefield. Among these threats are next generation main battle tanks. These systems apply active protection systems (APS) that render conventional anti-tank weapons ineffective. However, warheads with a standoff capability, which can be initiated outside the range of an APS, might destroy such targets. In addition, explosive reactive armour (ERA) and passive armour were improved during the last years. In this respect, enhanced shaped charge technologies are required.

In recent years, there has also been a steady increase in urban warfare. Thus, battlefield engagements are not limited against main battle tanks or fighting vehicles, but increasingly against infrastructure. Often, these infrastructures apply high-performance concrete, which makes engagements more challenging. Consequently, it necessary to obtain small calibre penetrator warheads for battlefield weapon systems that can be effectively employed against infrastructure. In this respect, new penetrator technologies are required.

The scope of the research action should be:

  • Research on technology of explosives – development of a technology of production of explosives charges with high homogeneity (uniform density distribution in the entire volume of the charge), geometric accuracy and high detonation parameters;
  • Research on technology of liners of shaped charges and explosively formed projectiles (EFPs);
  • Development of a technology of production of precise liners made of conventional materials (copper, Armco iron) with high structural homogeneity, chemical purity, etc.;
  • Development of a technology of production of precise liners made of new materials, e.g. manufactured with the use of additive techniques; with a programmed texture affecting the projectile formation process in such a way that the final shape of the projectile improves its stabilization on the flight path; slow stretching shaped charges allowing to keep its integrity as long as possible;
  • Optimization of the shapes of the liners;
  • Development of a technology of manufacturing of the warhead shells providing high strength, accuracy and repeatability of assembly, maximizing the penetration capability of the warheads and minimizing the weight of the entire system; e.g. by using a steel- composite shells with circumferential reinforcements made of carbon or glass fibres in a polymer matrix;
  • Development of new methods of explosive initiation, ensuring additional acceleration and appropriate shape of the detonation wave, axisymmetric deformation of the liner and, as a result, maximization of its penetration capability;
  • Development of multi-liner warheads (one explosive charge form and accelerate several projectiles). Such solutions will enable defeating armoured vehicles, but also can be used to destroy various types of infrastructure during military operations in urban areas (small calibre/low mass of explosive limit the negative side effects of detonation of the EFP, e.g. damage of buildings);
  • Development of initial concepts of new warhead carriers as well as selection of existing ones and definition of new warhead applications related to their structures (grenades, mines, drones, etc.);
  • Definition of numerical models of the warhead/target systems and performing computer simulations in order to initially evaluate the penetration capability of newly developed warheads;
  • Performing experimental tests determining the functioning of the developed warhead systems.

Furthermore, the proposal must address penetrator warheads that can be effectively employed against infrastructure. Moreover, the proposal can address other technologies that offer added value in the context of next generation battlefield targets.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding downstream eligible research activities if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • Activities aiming to create, underpin and improve knowledge, products and technologies, including disruptive technologies, which can achieve significant effects in the area of defence;
  • Activities aiming to increase interoperability and resilience, including secured production and exchange of data, to master critical defence technologies, to strengthen the security of supply or to enable the effective exploitation of results for defence products and technologies;
  • Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions.
  • The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

Activity 1. Generating knowledge – Compiling background information

  • Task 1: Collecting data on parameters, characteristics, functioning and efficiency of currently used protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations);
  • Task 2: Identifying of weak points of currently used protection systems of heavy- armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations);
  • Task 3: Defining potential strategies and methods of defeating protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations), that will take into account indicated weak points of their design and definition of the basic parameters of the developed combat system: type of the warhead used; number and type of shaped charges/EFP’s/other charges (single, tandem, triple); type of the warhead carrier (grenade, mine, drone, etc.);
  • Task 4: Determining methods of increasing of the warheads effectiveness and defining design assumptions that will allow to implement the strategies of defeating protection systems for heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure objects defined in the previous tasks (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combination);
  • Task 5: Identify state-of-the-art charge designs and manufacturing technologies of sub-components such as high explosive charges, shape charge liners, initiation systems and warhead casings.

Activity 2. Integrating knowledge – Initial warhead designs

  • Task 1: Evaluating numerical tools and developing numerical models of the warhead/target systems and performing computer simulations in order to initially evaluate the penetration capability of newly developed warheads;
  • Task 2: Warhead design developments integrating previously studied sub-component;
  • Task 3: Preparing warheads for experimental tests;
  • Task 4: Performing of experimental tests determining the functioning and the penetration capability of developed warheads;

Activity 3. Studies – Warhead optimization and munition applications

  • Task 1: Gathering and analysis of the results of experimental tests and numerical simulations determining the functioning and the penetration capability of developed warheads;
  • Task 2: Defining the directions of modification and optimization of the developed warheads in order to increase their penetration capability and the effectiveness of defeating protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure objects (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations);
  • Task 3: Developing initial concepts of new warhead carriers as well as selecting existing ones (grenades, mines, drones, etc.).

Activity 4. Design – Weapon system integration and validation

  • Task 1: Developing initial concepts of combat systems designs containing developed subsystems: warhead-carrier;
  • Task 2: Preparing combat systems variants for experimental pre-tests;
  • Task 3: Performing experimental pre-tests determining the functioning of the developed combat systems;
  • Task 4: Performing experimental pre-tests imitating the interaction of the developed combat systems with the protection systems of heavy-armoured vehicles and infrastructure facilities (passive, reactive and active protection systems and their combinations).
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EDF-2021-GROUND-D-FMGV: Future modular ground vehicles and enabling technologies, including green technologies

The evolving operational environment requires the development of next generation and the modernisation of current armoured platforms with improved robustness, agility, versatility and interoperability. Moreover, future land vehicles will require the ability to operate in adverse conditions, in digitised battlefield and network centric environments, and to obtain scalable effects, while ensuring efficient maintainability and support, high level of operational readiness and optimized life cycle cost. This topic addresses mainly technologies enhancing the mobility performance of ground platforms, making them more capable, modular and energy-efficient.

Future capability and operational challenges require the development of next generation and the modernisation of current platforms, armoured with enhanced interoperability, agility, survivability, mobility, durability, versatility, security including cyber, as well as the ability to operate in adverse conditions (facing challenging threats in various environments), addressing a large range of missions, in digitised battlefield and network centric environments, and to obtain scalable effects and other ground platforms such as logistic support vehicles, engineering vehicle, while ensuring efficient maintainability and support, high level of operational readiness and optimized life cycle cost. This topic addresses different technologies enhancing ground platforms’ mobility performance and core operational functions and other enabling capabilities, which will make them more capable and energy- efficient to achieve these goals.

Due to existence of a number of different armoured land platforms, the complexity of joint and logistic capabilities is increased, and the effectiveness of public investment is decreased. The lack of European system of systems approach for the development of land platform capabilities has affected and inhibited the use of potential joint capabilities. Numerous existing armoured vehicles are aging and therefore do not meet users’ capability needs anymore.

Land systems vehicle upgrade programs are a cost effective and fast way of extending the in- service life of existing military vehicle fleets. Opportunities exist to simultaneously extend the in-service life of a vehicle fleet and improve vehicle performance by effective design at any stage of the vehicle life cycle. Due to new challenges in military operations the land systems, in order to maintain their combat effectiveness, require upgrade processes to enhance both in protection (ballistic armour and protection systems) as well as mission kits, which typically increase the weight of the vehicles. Future programs provide opportunities to extend combat capabilities, to create game changers with respect to past and existing situations and to strengthen interoperability, maximizing impacts on cost-effectiveness and scale-effects. In particular, future vehicles should further protect troops through improved force protection, and stealth, extended situation awareness capability and autonomous functionalities, enhanced engagement capabilities, reduction of harmful vibrations, improved vehicle mobility through suspension upgrades, new technology for flexible tracks (elastomers) and implementation of electric/hydrogen/hybrid power packs and drivetrains.

Proposals must address the development of next generation or upgrade of current armoured platforms, in particular addressing Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) or developing and integrating modern and upgraded systems, subsystems like hybrid drivetrains and energy storage systems or sensors and a flexible network infrastructure into existing platforms and/or payloads improving significantly their performance. The proposals will thus possibly address other existing or future vehicles of various types and sizes such as Main Battle Tanks (MBT), Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), support vehicles or Combat Engineering Vehicles (CEV).

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding upstream or downstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment;
  • The development of a model of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology, which can demonstrate the element’s performance in an operational environment (system prototype);
  • The testing of product, tangible or intangible component or technology.
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EDF-2021-GROUND-D-UGVT: Unmanned ground vehicle technologies

There are significant cooperation opportunities in the Union regarding unmanned systems, which could be based on a shared operational concept and the resulting harmonisation of requirements. Moreover, the CDP analysis identifies the need to deploy unmanned systems to reduce the danger to human personnel and manned platforms, as well as to increase robustness, sustainability and resilience of ground systems. A comprehensive set of unmanned systems should contribute to the capability of land manoeuvre in the joint operational environment to gain positional advantage in respect to the adversary. Purely unmanned tracked vehicles as funded under EDIDP will not be considered under this topic.

Most military experts and strategists agree that the ability to conduct swarm operations is probably the best response to future threats whether symmetrical or asymmetrical. In this context, it is therefore vital to have the ability to design and conduct long-distance operations against a highly mobile and unpredictable enemy through the flexible use of a significant number of unmanned and coordinated ground and air systems.

Indeed, intelligent and effective cooperation between unmanned ground systems (UGS), manned military vehicles, operators and air systems is needed to increase the robustness, sustainability and resilience of these terrestrial systems while reducing loss of life, the risk of collateral damage and lowering the cognitive burden placed upon operators.

Deploying a swarm-based manoeuvring capability in a framework of cooperation between manned and unmanned systems (manned-unmanned teaming) but also inside the swarm of unmanned systems is undoubtedly the strongest requirement in system design in the field of safety research.

Therefore, rapidly developing a capacity implies an incremental approach capable of proposing capability milestones in line with the development milestones of current and future land systems and allowing upgrades of legacy systems.

Proposals should address the development of hardware or software modules designed to enable manned-unmanned operation modes and taking into account teaming and swarming, and to be integrated or embedded into a set of digitalised ground Armoured Vehicles (fielded, still under development or future) and showing the following capabilities:

  • To interconnect in real time and in a fully secured way an extended set of systems supported by an intelligent management solution and by operational aid modules;
  • To be integrated in a manned digitised vehicle to make it temporary unmanned for specific parts of the mission;
  • To propose real-time “reflex actions” to increase force protection and impacts of actions;
  • To cooperate with the rest of the combined armed company while being able to enter, remain and exit the company network and to interact with unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV);
  • To enable a versatile use in order to be deployed for a large spectrum of operational missions and provide operation capability in hostile, harsh environment;
  • To be compliant with ethics and regulations regardless of the operational context.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding downstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
  • The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment;
  • The development of a model of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology, which can demonstrate the element’s performance in an operational environment (system prototype).

The proposals must address in particular the following objectives: Studies:

  • Autonomous behaviour understanding (Risks, ethics, Rules of engagement, decision making support);
  • Definition of targeted vehicles (fielded or under development or future);
  • Analysis of civilian/military communication and data exchange standards of the targeted vehicles;
  • Analysis of commonality of requirements and functionalities for the targeted vehicles;
  • Definition of CONOPS (Concept of Operations) related to the relevant functions for the targeted vehicles.

Design:

  • Definition of the relevant functions related to relevant manned-unmanned operation modes for teaming and swarming, environment understanding and advanced decision- making support;
  • Definition of their implementation and integration into the system architecture of the targeted vehicles (hardware, software, networks);
  • Definition of the security environment; development of solutions for manned to unmanned transformation, teaming, swarming, environment understanding and advanced decision-making support;
  • Definition of open solutions able to embed future sensors and sensor systems;
  • Proposal for a test case as a basis for demonstration, simulation and prototyping.

Prototyping for implementation of selected use cases (to be consolidated along the project implementation):

Integration of a system demonstrator for:

  • Risk mitigation;
  • Presentation of study results and execution of a demonstration with a test scenario.

A detailed planning of the potential subsequent project phases must be generated, including the identification of implementation priorities, according to the operational needs of the EU and its Member States.

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EDF-2021-GROUND-D-3CA: BLOS collaborative close combat architecture

The availability of mobile precision systems able to provide the necessary high degree of accuracy and efficiency, avoiding widespread collateral damage, and reducing exposure of friendly forces is a priority for Member States’ armed forces. In this context, some requirements are becoming increasingly important, e.g. to provide the land and naval combat units with the ability to defeat at medium and long ranges, and with a very high degree of accuracy and reliability. In order to meet these requirements, research activities on a Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) collaborative close combat architecture are required.

The EU is facing increased geostrategic instability. Land and naval combat units of EU Member States have to address on the battlefield a complex set of conventional and new threats. They have to intervene in a high intensity and in asymmetric engagement, facing a wide range of threats including potential technically advanced adversaries.

To succeed in BLOS-firing mission, reconnaissance, intelligence and adequate preparations will be essential. A technical system design (incorporating C2, mobility, survivability, lethality, intelligence and endurance) for BLOS will need to be versatile against future alterations pending an evolving hostile threat. A BLOS system design will need to be robust and secured against the future to motivate investments in resources and funds for the anticipated period of life.

In this context some requirements are becoming increasingly important: provide the land and naval combat units with the ability to defeat at medium and long ranges, with a very high degree of accuracy and reliability, selected threats that are not always clearly identified and visible or defeat targets that may mask or unmask at the last moment; reduce exposure to enemy fire; avoid widespread collateral damage; allow concentrating fires without concentrating means, providing autonomy, reactivity and freedom of action at the level of the combat units on the battlefield.

Development of a BLOS collaborative close combat architecture based on BLOS native missile systems (with full Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) and Man-In-The-Loop (MITL) capabilities through a seeker back-image):

  • Multi-domains (land/air/sea);
  • Multi-platforms integration (air/land/naval, manned/unmanned);
  • Multi-sensors (alert, detection, target designation, engagement);
  • Explore and define system architecture;
  • Study and develop an enhanced BLOS concept according to defined system architecture;
  • Define, study and develop interfaces for supporting systems, hardware and applications serving to enhance BLOS-capability;
  • Extended range;
  • Cooperative engagement;
  • Enhanced performances and functional capability;
  • Increased robustness to aggressions (cyber, jamming);
  • Innovative technologies insertion;
  • Mission planning and decision-making supported by AI;
  • Design and develop concept for training and evaluation of BLOS capability involving interoperability among Member States.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding upstream or downstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
  • The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment;
  • The development of a model of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology, which can demonstrate the element’s performance in an operational environment (system prototype);
  • The testing of product, tangible or intangible component or technology.
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If you are already in a consortium, want to submit an application and need support to find a consortium or want to integrate an application already in preparation, please write to edf@iddportugal.pt