An Innovative Barrier to obstruct and deflect threats at a Safer Distance: RTB System

Active Protection Systems
Range Testing of the Rocket-Towed Barrier

The future development of Active Protection Systems will be enabled by advances in sensors, software, materials, and smarter, more innovative munitions, and delivery systems.

Development targets for future APS will move beyond RPG threats to include:

  • Stopping or deflecting other types of MANPADS and missiles
  • Stoppping, deflecting or entangling drones
  • Stopping, impeding, or deflecting bullets
  • Obscuring or confusing the view of targets from shooters
  • Defending vehicles, hovering aircraft, boats, fixed installations

All of the above with countermeasures that are less lethal to friendly troops than current methods.

A New Defensive Munition: The Rocket Towed Barrier (RTB)

The concept of a barrier placed in the way of a deadly projectile is not new. This simple idea is extremely difficult to put into practical use however. Erecting a barrier just in time to deflect an incoming missile is virtually impossible given the timeline. Covering a vehicle or aircraft with armored panel barriers is impractical and cumbersome. But suppose there was a system that could launch a swarm of super-tough flexible barriers into the path of an incoming threat. Suppose this defensive barrier swarm could be aimed and launched almost instantaneously, on a timescale of milliseconds.

The Rocket Towed Barrier is essentially a munition containing a drogue parachute-like barrier made of Kevlar or other material which deploys behind a short range rocket which tows it into the path of incoming threats. The RTB system utilizes existing technologies in novel and effective combinations. The system does not rely on future technological breakthroughs, nor does it embody unrealistic operating requirements such as “hitting a bullet with a bullet”. The RTB is an aerodynamically-inflated, super-tough yet compliant physical barrier. It is specifically designed to operate in a less-precise deployment scenario, utilizing its wide area of coverage combined with multiple numbers of barriers in a “counter-swarm” to present a formidable obstacle to incoming threats.

Enabling the RTB as described above is the job of the ARC system, a continuously rotating turret that can bring a variety of ordinance to bear on incoming threats, in a fraction of the time of current systems.

The RTB utilizes a variety of defeat modes which include fuzing, deflection, and flight disruption. Since defeat is not based on destroying the incoming threat, probability of successful countermeasure is greatly enhanced. Barriers can be configured as simply as a Kevlar shield, or can incorporate features such as decoy IR, planar cutting charges, or percussion charges. The available IP portfolio contains all these variants of the towed barrier, including hard-kill (explosive-carrying) types.

The RTB system is an inherently short range countermeasure. Unlike some kinetic kill systems, the RTB/ARC does not pose a threat to people and places downrange.

An Important Advantage against Decoy-Type RPG’s

Our RPG missile defense system is the only APS designed to counter decoy-type RPG  threats (ie RPG-30). Decoy munitions rely on a precursor rocket to trigger the target’s APS, thereby leaving the target open to the main RPG munition that follows. For an existing APS the firing interval is too short for these systems to deploy an additional countermeasure. Our RTB has the benefits of sustained presence (loiters) and wide-area screening. When delivered via our ARC system, multiple RTBs are presented in rapid succession, neutralizing even multiple simultaneous threats.

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Advantages of our APS

  • Multi-Role APS development potential
  • C-UAV "last line" kinetic defense layer applicability
  • Threat neutralization at safer distances
  • Non-fratricidal APS option
  • Can Defeat Mutiple Simultaneous Threats
  • Able to project a swarm of countermeasures
  • Able to defeat decoy-type Threats
  • Supports armor, ground, and fixed deployment
  • Designed to be practical for VTOL Aircraft
  • Supports multiple specialized munitions
  • May be adapted for offensive uses (area threat suppression)
  • Development potential for future / advanced threats

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