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The MASS decoy system

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posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 12:09 AM
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The recent demonstration of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition’s MASS (Multi Ammunition Softkill System) by BAE Systems for U.S. military forces was a site to behold. The system works in exactly the same way that a bullfighter draws the alignment of the charging bull away from his body – MASS lures the hostile missile system away from its naval target with a optimized key stimuli. Insiders refer to this as the Pamela Anderson principle.

MASS has been designed to give protection against missiles that are equipped with cameras (visual), infrared seekers, radar seekers or laser seekers and can thus locate and approach targets autonomously. The idea is to place the right decoy in the right place at the right time. In the case of MASS, this is possible because the launcher system can be swivelled in elevation and azimuth and 32 decoys can be launched at intervals such that the hostile missile is deflected from the actual target (the ships) stepwise and will ultimately miss its target.

The MASS system is the only protection system in the world permitting decoy deployment in all five degrees of freedom – azimuth, elevation, range, number and interval – and additionally warrants spontaneous protection in all relevant wavelengths for the military (optical, infrared, laser, radar and UV).

One decisive asset in terms of safety is the extremely short reaction time. MASS requires only two seconds from the time of missile detection (approach speed: Mach 2 corresponding to approx. 2,400 km/h) up to its successful deflection.


Entire article

Photos of the MASS test


That thing is definitely cool. I wonder if they'll put that on the DD(X) and CVN-21.




posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 06:02 AM
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NWGuy,

>>
The system works in exactly the same way that a bullfighter draws the alignment of the charging bull away from his body – MASS lures the hostile missile system away from its naval target with a optimized key stimuli. Insiders refer to this as the Pamela Anderson principle.
>>

No. A Bullfighter uses the motion of the cape and slight changes in the orientation (facing and spacing) of his body to mess with the bulls perception of angular motion. A job made easier by the short distances, the work that the Picadors to further lower it's head and thus FOV.

This system is nothing more or less than a giant version of the smoke grenade mortar systems in use on MBTs around the world. If it is truly MS (Multi Specular) capable, it probably combines pyrophoric rubber and metal elements of 'white' and 'silver' smoke respectively but as such, it is not likely doing more than upping the obscurrent index, much the same way you and I would respond to snow flakes (or dozens of sparklers).

The problem with this is multifold:

1. If you have onboard apertures looking through the smoke, you will blind them or cause the inbound round to switch to an ARM mode.
2. Mach 2 weapons are moving a mile roughly every 3 seconds. Pure inertial homing will compensate for most 'evasive' ship movement in the 10-11 seconds from seeker gate lightoff, MWS detection and decoy launch/bloom windowing to STILL hit the 300ft or better hull. Any hit is going to instantly render you combat ineffective, whether it be to destroy systems apertures above deck, seakeeping and formation maneuver at the waterline. Or simply by burning out everyone and everything inside (last I heard, the USN /still/ doesn't antiflash their crew and there are STILL no rebreathers in every compartment).
3. As I recall, CMWS is the AAR-57 which was /supposed/ to go on every jet and helo out there so as to finally bring the U.S. tactical aviation into the modern era. As usual, they found 'problems' (competing capability/funding with the F/A-22 and F-35 on which the AAR-56 and DAS are embedded already) with the detector and though the company valiantly offered multiple 'light bulb' switchable detector heads with IR or UV or multicolor options, it was never purchased. The problem here is that you are looking across, not merely a high altitude (saturated) UV but a _marine_ one in which glare paths and arcing as well as very humid air all play a part in how well the systems work. Given the number of sectors needed to cross cover (passive ranging) all inbound arcs with a bug eye, you would probably be better with a high speed (mechanically 'spun') IRST atop the masthead rather than going with cheapo tricks like this one as you could at least gain some additional functionality (tracking/ranging/image-ID'ing PCIs for multiple gunlay cueing) within a single, more heavily constructed, more continuously functional, installation.
4. Operationally, it is _stupid_ to pop a huge signature bloom like this in the littorals. Because you have instantly and forever-more ID'd yourself to whatever ASST assets they have looking. And because particularly for some of the faster boats we want to put inshore (LCS) a 50 knot vessel is going to rapidly leave it's protected cell even as the decoy launcher is sitting and spinning awaiting reload. Fast response is nothing great, SRBOC has been in the 1-2 second category for 20+ years, it's /multiple reengagements/ that count and a ship is simply too damn large to cover with an economical number of launchers without making the entire bloody deck a 'no tresspassing, immediate response possible' hazard area. Add to this the likelihood that, against the PCI/FIAC threat, close aboard, you are likely not going to disappear at all. But may well screw up the responses of your 7.62 or .50 and Stinger team shooters.


>>
MASS has been designed to give protection against missiles that are equipped with cameras (visual), infrared seekers, radar seekers or laser seekers and can thus locate and approach targets autonomously.
>>

This is an acknowledgement that hunting systems like LOCAAS are 'on the way' as a function of swarm-saturating the target from a single shot launch (Klub or similar) rather than trying to penetrate an active, layered, defense.

The problem here is, again, that they assume you are not blinding your own terminal (inner zone) defenses AND that the close aboard kill is to be avoided at all costs. Well morons, if it's no longer a 500-2,500lb warhead but rather a dozen 50lb warheads; getting them before they put big bloody holes in your antenna suite could become more important than ever.

Military ships become really badly design cruise liners when they lose the sensors by which they cue their weapons. And killing the above deck soft stuff is /simple/ when you have combined inertial/high grain optical seekers able to divide the superstructure silouhette fractals up into individual aimpoints.

Which of course raises another pair of questions:

1. Whether you can (somehow, miraculously, nose-on in a wave chop and spray environment) detect a missile inbound.
2. Why you haven't killed it a long time before it's seeker sees YOU (that 300ft long ship) and goes to 'inertial standby' as an ECCM /presumption/ that you are going to try and defeat it. It doesn't take a helluva lot of brains to say "Okay, every compare every third seeker cycle for massive precess indicating angular rate movement of the target cell beyond possible (knots) target movement particulars.

>>
The idea is to place the right decoy in the right place at the right time. In the case of MASS, this is possible because the launcher system can be swivelled in elevation and azimuth and 32 decoys can be launched at intervals such that the hostile missile is deflected from the actual target (the ships) stepwise and will ultimately miss its target.
>>

Right! Except if I want to 'step off' a missile, I sure as hell don't want to do it as a function of asking it to stay right on course while I swivel the EXCM launcher to point at the sucker. Because _again_, density on-bearing will mean very little when the weapon is simply running down the reverse course. Not least because even if the weapon somehow misses this /massive/ naval target; it may well have the ability to make a second pass.

A much better idea is hard kill. With either a pair of paravaned cables that use gas generators to create water walls against sea skimmers. Or with an Arena or AHEAD based (light enough to have multiple 'stick on' mounts against smaller threats) shotgun defenses.

Softkill, against optical threats, should be strictly the realm of ATIRCM/Nemesis dazzlers. Or HPM against RF.

Indeed, I think they need to do a LOT more, in terms of dividing up the categories of threat between 'likeliest' day-to-day threats (inbound suicide craft or RPG shooters in a crowded inshore traffic area). And the 'full intensity' mission role.

In both areas; the KEY SHORTCOMING of all USN fleet or task force organizations is that of endurant, high speed, VTOL, aperture lift. If you wait for the threat to cross a LOS horizon line, you're screwed. If you go passive with something like the 'Shadow' modular optics from the AAS-42 or the AAS-52 (in it's SIRST role as a missile tracker from the E-2D program) you may well STILL need to lower the horizon line to get good look across without glinting so it's probably a wise thing if a new generation (drone) platform is small and cheap too.

But so long as the Air Navy has a hardon about carriers and so long as carriers are increasingly too vulnerable and too limited to be deployed inshore themselves. There has to be a divorce between the 'useful' (riskable, presence maintaining) surface squids. And their failed-the-USAF-test brethren.

Since you NEVER want to fight a missile defense or SUW warfare context with masthead LOS limits; this can only mean taking the worthless ASW helo offboard and putting a 10-12 unit 'airwing' of replacements onboard.

Something like a MALD crossed with a Sea Ferret and with either tubed/VLS launch and Sky Hook recovery. Or fullup VTOL using tail sitter or tilt-wing or ducted-whatever TURBINE technology is definitely required.

If you can see them coming, you can shoot OVER the horizon and indeed even be positioned for a formated kill at low aspect and decent closure. Which is infinitely better for discrete engagement with high SSPK and decent reengage-on-miss percentages.

>>
The MASS system is the only protection system in the world permitting decoy deployment in all five degrees of freedom – azimuth, elevation, range, number and interval – and additionally warrants spontaneous protection in all relevant wavelengths for the military (optical, infrared, laser, radar and UV).

One decisive asset in terms of safety is the extremely short reaction time. MASS requires only two seconds from the time of missile detection (approach speed: Mach 2 corresponding to approx. 2,400 km/h) up to its successful deflection.
>>

Whoopy. Quit thinking like a woman with a frying pan in her hand facing off against a man with 'all six shots' in a revolver. Until we take Sea Lite or a similar hard kill DEWS to sea, there is simply no getting around the need to EXTEND the horizon line within a Sea Ferret/MALI type system of loitering self defense and enagement. While RAM and ESSM must be backed up by signficantly more repetitively accurate (and multitarget CLASS capable) hardkill systems that are adaptable to standalone applique adaptable to a large range of hull sizes. As well as being cheap enough (and low range footprinted enough) to use against threats from the bottom of the ladder upwards.



 
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