Quick Kill, U.S. Army active protection system

Quick Kill is an active protection system (APS) designed to destroy incoming anti-tank missiles, rockets, and grenades. The Quick Kill system is being designed and produced by Raytheon for the U.S. Army. The Quick Kill system is part of the Army's Future Combat System.

Quick Kill detects incoming RPGs and anti-tank missiles with an active electronically scanned array radar. Once its speed, trajectory and intercept point are computed, Quick Kill vertically soft-launches a small countermeasure missile. The countermeasure missile intercepts the incoming threat and destroys it with a focused blast warhead. All this happens within a blink of an eye. The Quick Kill missile has 360-degree capability and a reload capability. It could be used stationary or on the move with a wide range of vehicles from armored personnel carriers to airborne helicopters. On Feb 8, 2006 Raytheon announced Quick Kill was now the first active protection system (APS) to have destroyed a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at close range using a precision launched warhead with a focused blast during live testing done the day before (see a video of it below.)

Controversy ignited when United States Office of Force Transformation plans to battle test the more mature Israeli made Trophy Active Protection System on several Stryker armored personnel carriers in combat in Iraq in 2007 were scuttled by the Army in favor of waiting for the Quick Kill system to develop. In 2006-2007 the Institute for Defense Analyses found Quick Kill to be relatively immature and fraught with significant development risks. Important components like the radar was not yet fully developed and testing of the system as a whole was on hold while the warhead was redesigned. They also found Trophy, which uses a shotgun-like kill mechanism, to be the most mature of the 15 systems they analyzed at the time (Israel also has a less mature APS in development with a focus blast kill mechanism more similar to Quick Kill called Iron Fist.)

According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the Army estimated that Quick Kill could be available for prototype delivery to current force vehicles in fiscal year 2009 and tested on a FCS vehicle in 2011. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, a top Army acquisition official, testified to Congress that Quick Kill would be ready to "hang on a vehicle in about 2008" and that the Army was already beginning to do integration work to put the system on the Stryker; this was roughly the same timeframe as Trophy. Sorenson also said they were concerned about Trophy's high weight, high power draw, lack of reload capability (which it now has), lack of 360 degree protection, and higher probability of collateral damage to civilians. Raytheon reported May 22, 2007 that it had delivered its radar on time and on budget. Janes Defense Weekly reported on Oct 18, 2007 that the US Army has ordered design changes to the Quick Kill system after some rocket motors in an APS interceptor showed 'splittage' in recent testing that summer.

The Humvee or JLTV may not be suitable for the Quick Kill APS. The blast pressures generated when the incoming warhead detonates would likely buckle lightly armored vehicles.

- video encodings still in process -

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