Medium Range Precision Attack Munition 105/120mm Tank Round
The US Army Medium Range Munition program is designed to provide main battle tanks an extended range, beyond line-of-sight precision engagement capability. The MRM program is pursueing both Kinetic Energy (KE) and Shaped Charge (Chemical Energy – CE) solutions. MRM is a fire and forget, guided, “smart,” tank fired, projectile that could employ either a kinetic energy penetrator or an advanced warhead to defeat high valued targets including the most advanced armored threats. MRM will have dual mode sensor, enabling either full autonomous acquisition of vehicle targets in it’s field of view or can be directed to engage a specific vehicle or non-signature target through the use of a laser designator.
MRM-KE is designed for 105mm and 120mm cartridges and comprises an interchangeable sensor component using multi-mode Semi-Active Laser (SAL), GPS and MMW guidance, a common rocket motor and a kinetic penetrator packed into the warhead section. The MRM will be fired by a tank as a conventional round, as it starts it flight, the round will acquire GPS position followed by mid-course updates and at the peak of its trajectory, ignite the rocket motor to accelerating to achieve maximum lethality. The round will be able to maneuver by employing impulse thrusters to maneuver and hit at the target’s center. It is designed for effective range of up to 7.5 km. MRM-KE was first tested in August 2004.
MRM CE – Raytheon, developing a CE version of the MRM fitted with a SAL seeker, performed a first successful test of the new projectile in June 2006, fired at a moving tank at a range of 8.7 km. The semi-active laser seeker projectile survived gun launch, then acquired, tracked and maneuvered toward the moving target. This was the first test shot in a planned series of SAL projectiles fired from a M1A2 SEP as Raytheon continues to mature its semi-active laser seeker capabilities. The MRM-CE will be able to engage battlefield targets at extended ranges, including beyond line of sight, autonomously or designated with external laser target designation. The MRM-CE is a key component of the Army’s FCS (Future Combat Systems) vehicles and a potential spin-out to M1A2 Abrams SEP.
The first beyond line of sight mission test, held at the U.S. Army’s Yuma, Ariz., Proving Grounds on Sept. 25, 2006, the laser guided MRM-CE projectile was fired from an Abrams M1A2 SEP (system enhancement program) tank, scored an extended-range, guided direct hit at a moving T-72 tank at a range of 5.4 miles (8.7 km). The test demonstrated the laser-guided seeker’s ability to successfully target, acquire and track a moving tank and guide the munition to intercept at the required range.
In a test firing conducted March 1st, 2007 the MRM-CE fired from an M1A2 Abrams tank demonstrated dual-mode seeker demonstrated its most flexible mode that exploits sensor fusion. During the flight the projectile successfully acquired laser designation and transitioned the tracking function to the imaging infrared sensor against a T-72 tank target. The sensor guided the munition to a direct hit at a distance of 5.2 kilometers (3.5 miles). During this test the target was designated through an “off-set designation” procedure, minimizing exposure and warning to the enemy tank. The laser spot was first used to mark a location near the intended target, and then using sensor fusion, the imaging infrared seeker autonomously founds the qualified target closest to the laser spot. “The round hit within inches of the aim point, demonstrating complete mission success,” said Rick Williams, Raytheon Mid-Range Munition program manager. “Mid-Range Munition, Chemical-Energy has demonstrated all required operational modes.”
The Raytheon Mid-Range Munition, Chemical-Energy projectile is designed to provide the U.S. Army with lethal, one-shot capability as the service continues its transformation to lighter, more deployable combat forces. The Mid-Range Munition, Chemical-Energy, which will autonomously attack battlefield targets at beyond-line-of-sight ranges, with or without external laser target designation, is a key component of the Army’s Future Combat Systems vehicles.