Attacks by unmanned vehicles, missiles,
small planes, fast in-shore attack craft and other platforms pose a perennial,
evolving and potentially lethal threat to ships and other maritime vessels.
The escalating risks posed by these ever-morphing threats demand that vessels
have access to defensive capabilities at the leading edge of air and surface
combat technologies. In particular, current close-range gun systems would
greatly benefit from an ability to engage multiple and diverse targets coming
from a range of directions and do so rapidly and with high precision.
help meet these needs and greatly enhance maritime vessels’ survivability in
contested environments, DARPA has created the Multi-Azimuth Defense—Fast
Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES) program. The goal of the program
is to design and develop technologies associated with a medium-caliber
guided projectile that would combine the guidance, precision and accuracy
generally afforded by missiles with the speed, rapid-fire capability and
large ammunition capacity afforded by bullets.
MAD-FIRES aims to
advance the state-of-the-art in defensive gun systems by creating a new,
low-cost technological foundation for guided, gun-launched projectiles.
Specifically, MAD-FIRES aims to incorporate enhanced ammunition rounds able
to alter their flight path in real time to stay on target, and a capacity to
continuously target, track and engage multiple fast-approaching targets
simultaneously and re-engage any targets that survive initial engagement.
Envisioned benefits of MAD-FIRES for future systems include:
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