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Unified fire control system for armoured vehicles.

One of the main factors leading to increase of combat effectiveness of existing armoured vehicles is the use of more advanced fire control system (FCS). Therefore more and more often increase in combat effectiveness is reached by means of upgrading FCS of combat vehicles' (CV) weapon systems.

For decades development of fire control systems for light armoured vehicles (IFV, AAV and APC) lagged behind the development of tank-mounted fire control systems. A combined periscopic gunner's sight with a dependent LOS (movement in the vertical plane together with the weapon) and a non-stabilized electric drive were used to fire the main weapon and coupled machine gun of the first-generation BMP-1 IFV. Hence, the BMP-1 IFV was capable of firing all types of weapons only in the stationary position.

A weapon stabilizer appears (for the first time for light combat vehicles) in the FCS of the second generation IFVs such as BMP-2 (USSR), Bradley M2 (USA). It enables to fire the automatic gun and coupled machine gun both in the stationary position and on the move, while firing ATGM only while stationary.

While tanks were already equipped with laser range-finders and ballistic computers with fire conditions sensors, combat vehicles, the BMP-2 for example, were not. Adopting the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle by the Russian Armed Forces in 1987 was a qualitative leap for lightly armoured vehicles. The BMP-3 weapon system was created at KBP Instrument Design Bureau. In terms of its composition and fire power it was a unique system, excelling both existing series-production IFVs and advanced IFVs of all countries of the world. The system includes a 100mm gun, 30mm gun, guided weapon with a barrel-launched missile and a FCS, whose specifications were not inferior to tank FCSs being even superior in some aspects.

For the first time the BMP-3 FCS, as opposed to the BMP-2 FCS, used an analogue ballistic computer and gunner's sight with an independent line of sight (LOS), the latter ensuring firing on the move both unguided and guided weapons. Some of the parameters were fed automatically from sensors: vehicle speed and course angle, angular velocity of the target in the azimuth channel, vehicle roll, distance to the target. Range was measured by a laser rangefinder mounted on the barrel. The parameters, which change slowly, such as ambient air and charge temperature, atmospheric pressure, muzzle velocity deviation, could be fed manually. A new step in development of IFV FCS was the KBP-developed fire control system for BMD-4 airborne assault vehicle which in many aspects excelled tank FCSs. The FCS consisted of the following major components: combined gunner's day/night sight, commander's panoramic sight, high-precision armament stabilizer, digital ballistic computer with sensor package and IR automatic target tracker (Fig. 1).

The unified automatic FCS imparts the following new features to weapon systems of combat vehicles:

* increase of the 30 mm projectile effective range from 1100-1300 m up to 1800-2000 m; increase of the 100 mm projectile maximum range of fire from 4 up to 7 km; increase of the effective range of tank guns by a factor of 1.3-1.8; This results from enhancement of fire accuracy due to:

-- usage of digital computers instead of analogue ones. This enables to take the following factors into account: CV speed, roll and trim difference, target relative angular speed, distance to target, type of ammunition, CV course angle, air temperature and pressure, charge temperature, angle of sight, etc.,

-- enhancement of armament stabilization accuracy, reduction of dynamic errors owing to the improved armament stabilizer,

-- the TV/IR automatic target tracker, which enhances accuracy of fire, especially when firing at moving targets and when moving with high speed. The TV/IR automatic target tracker enables to reduce errors of LOS stabilization by a factor of up to 6;

* increase of target hit probability by an anti-tank guided missile; "fire-and-forget" ATGM fire thanks to the TV/IR automatic target tracking and high-precision laying of the aiming mark at the target in real combat conditions;

* increase of the number of detected targets, full backup of firing all types of weapons by the commander owing to the commander's panoramic sight with an independent dual-plane LOS field stabilization system, with a frequency laser range-finding and TV guidance channel;

* capability to kill a wide range of targets under adverse weather and survey conditions while stationary, on the move and afloat, day and night owing to combination of the range-finding, thermal imaging, sighting and missile guidance channels in one module in the gunner's sight. The channels have a common head mirror unit, which ensures stabilization accuracy of 0.05-0,10 mrad at all ranges of weapon application;

* increase of air target kill probability by more than an order of magnitude owing to the new multi-purpose firing algorithm, as well as high-frequency range finding (frequency of up to 5 Hz);

* capability of firing from indirect positions;

* engagement of tanks equipped with active protection systems by salvo fire of two anti-tank missiles in one beam;

* improvementofergonomiccharacteristics of the combat vehicle.

The peculiarity of the proposed FCS is its modular design: various types of thermal imagers can be installed; antitank missile guidance modules can be replaced; layout of the modules on the CV can be varied. According to customer's request any FCS composition version can be installed, including a reduced one. The FCS modular design allowed to use the prevailing part (up to 90%) of the FCS of the BMD-4 fighting compartment in the BMP-2 upgraded fighting compartment. The proposed FCS was tested on the T-72 tank in the course of its upgrade according to one of the options.

The KBP-designed BMD-4 and the fighting compartment of the upgraded BMP-2 with the unified FCS have the performances, which are superior to those of the best foreign counterparts: Bradley (US), Marder (Germany).

This FCS can be used as a part of weapon systems (fully or partially) in the BMD-2, BMD-3, BTR-90, BMP-3, in the T-72, T-80, T-90 tanks, as well as in weapon systems for river and sea vessels.

KBP has studied an opportunity to install the new FCS of the BMD-4 on foreign customer's vehicles: Patria (Finland), ASCOD (Austria) and FAHD (Egypt), and the FCS of the upgraded BMP-2--on vehicles of the Italian company IVECO. The proposed FCS is in quantity production at KBP Instrument Design Bureau and can be installed on various vehicles according to customer's request.
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Publication:Armada International
Date:Jun 1, 2010
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