Military

RAPIDFire autonomous air defense turret can take down drone swarms

RAPIDFire autonomous air defense turret can take down drone swarms
RAPIDFire is designed for both naval and land platforms
RAPIDFire is designed for both naval and land platforms
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RAPIDFire can engage multiple targets with select munitions
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RAPIDFire can engage multiple targets with select munitions
RAPIDFire is designed for both naval and land platforms
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RAPIDFire is designed for both naval and land platforms
RAPIDFire infographic
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RAPIDFire infographic
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To counter increasingly dangerous low-level, close-quarters surface and aerial threats, Nexter and Thales have unveiled the latest version of the RAPIDFire autonomous gun turret at the Euronaval 2022 naval defense exhibition in Paris.

Ever since the first shield was constructed to ward off the first spear, military technology has been a constant arms race between offensive and defensive systems. Every new way to attack prompts the development of a new way to defend (and vice versa).

Today, the emergence of asymmetric warfare often sees billion-dollar assets like warships facing cheap yet deadly threats like drones, small watercraft, floating mines, loitering munitions, as well as the higher level threats like supersonic missiles and fighter bombers.

Developed as part of a temporary consortium by Nexter and Thales, RAPIDFire is designed to autonomously and automatically seek out, acquire, lock onto, and destroy threats on both land and sea. For rapid engagements, it has 140 rounds in a ready rack, which is enough for around 30 interceptions.

RAPIDFire infographic
RAPIDFire infographic

RAPIDFire is built around CTA International's 40-mm gun suite, ammunition, and sighting system housed inside a small armored turret. It can handle CTAI's telescoped munitions and is configured for the future Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) round that cannot be jammed, decoyed or triggered by clutter as it deals with airborne targets.

In addition, the remotely-operated turret has a high-precision optronic fire control system from Thales with multispectral sight and high-rate laser rangefinder, and can automatically select the appropriate ammunition to counter multiple threats.

RAPIDFire can engage multiple targets with select munitions
RAPIDFire can engage multiple targets with select munitions

According to the partners, this allows RAPIDFire to deal with surface threats or drones, either individually or in swarms, as well as multiple missiles that may be launched in an attempt to overwhelm defense by means of a saturation attack. It can also counter fighter jets, attack helicopters, and missiles at a range of up to 4,000 m (2.4 miles) with minimal collateral damage.

The RAPIDFire is scheduled to be deployed next year for sea qualifications aboard the French Navy's fleet replenishment tanker Jacques Chevallier. For land use, the system can be adapted to the CAESAR MkII truck chassis and other platforms.

The video below shows off the capabilities of RAPIDFire.

RAPIDFire

Source: Nexter

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10 comments
10 comments
Expanded Viewpoint
And just how long will it take for someone to figure out how to blind the sighting camera?? Without that, it's just a harmless piece of junk!!
Username
"exterminate"!
SciFiHiGi
Send a dozen to the Ukraine.
vince
Send 10 units to Ukraiine for battlefield testing. Once proven send them 1000 units or more.
mystixa
Why is it so many of these new weapon systems like this, tanks, APCs and the like all have that angular 'sheet metal' cover over the barrel. Does it actually serve a purpose or are weapons manufacturers just trying to look futuristic?
Grunchy
I agree, from certain angles it does look a lot like a fat Dalek.
I guess it must have a “geese hunting” mode?
Jinpa
Make the output laser bursts and you'd have something, while avoiding ammo reloads and other problems. E.g.: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/us-armys-next-super-weapon-laser-machine-gun-180009 Since targets of various sizes and various operational character could be disabled with varying power bursts, it wouldn't have the limitation of using one-size projectiles. Even just the electromagnetic effects might disable drones.
TpPa
At 140 round capacity of five diff. rounds, so 28 each, I sure hope it has a awesome automated reload system.
ljaques
Pretty cool tool, Thales. It's also likely a darn sight cheaper to operate than a CIWS.
P.S: The designer is obviously a Dr. Who/DALEK fan, considering the look of that system. ;)
Bob809
In some military stylr simulators seen on YouTube, overwhelming a target's defense systems is often the downfall of even the best defensive weapons. This often leads to running out of defensive ammunition and therefore the defenders fail to do their job. The CIWS is a perfect example, blasting out a massive amount of bullets in the hope of hitting the target. It may sound 'unreal' as it is happening in the world of Simulators, but they can and are being used to familiarise combatents with the enemy.