Iron Curtain (countermeasure)

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Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain on Ridgeback.jpg
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer Artis
Manufacturer Artis

Iron Curtain is an active protection system (APS) designed by Artis, an American technology development and manufacturing firm headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. The system is designed to protect military vehicles and other assets by intercepting threats such as rocket-propelled grenades and rendering them inert.


The system, which began in 2005 as a DARPA program, is able to defeat threats even if fired from an extremely close range.[1]

Iron Curtain uses two independent sensors, radar and optical, high-speed computing, and tightly controlled counter-munitions to minimize the false alarm rate and increase accuracy. It is arranged like a shelf above and around the vehicle and uses a C-band radar, a distributed optical sensor, and a ring of ballistic countermeasures to neutralize incoming threats. First the C-band radar detects and tracks the incoming round and alerts the system. It then switches from armed-ready state to an armed state. As the round comes into close range the distributed optical sensor profiles the threat and tracks it within 1 cm (0.39 in) of accuracy to select an aimpoint and determine which ballistic countermeasure to fire. The countermeasure fires straight down, neutralizing the incoming threat within inches of the vehicle, separating the system from many others which intercept threats several meters out, resulting in minimal risk of collateral damage to dismounted troops or civilians. The countermeasure deflagrates the RPG warhead without detonating it, leaving the dudded round to bounce off the vehicles side.[2]

Because of its shelf-like design system can be modified to protect almost any surface, from the sides of the vehicle to all around protection, including the top as well as defeat a wide spectrum of threats as its system can be easily programmed to classify them. Artis claims that the Iron Curtain can be enhanced to protect against “more challenging threats” like the RPG-29 and RPG-32 ‘Hashim’ multipurpose anti-tank grenade launchers, which utilize tandem warheads for penetrating tanks with explosive reactive armor. Iron Curtain should also be able to defend against ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles). Because of the arrangement of the system like a shelf it can be integrated with passive armor like Slat armor.[2] The system has 360° coverage, is multi-shot, low-cost, low power, lightweight, and rugged and reliable.

The system’s radar was developed by Mustang Technology Group in Plano, Texas. Iron Curtain has undergone significant safety testing, including temperature and shock testing, and its software architecture has been approved by the U.S. military's Joint Services Weapons Safety Review Board.

In August 2016, the U.S. government approved Artis to integrate the Israeli company RADA Electronic Industries' Compact Hemispheric Radar-based RPS-10 radar into the Iron Curtain, replacing the L-3 Mustang Technology radar previously used. Integration and testing of the Israeli radar on the Artis APS is planned for early 2017.[3]

Government testing[edit]

In April 2013, the company announced it achieved a perfect score during rigorous government tests. “We proved not only that Iron Curtain defeats threats and saves lives, but the risk from collateral damage is minimal, especially when compared with the alternative," according to the company's CEO, Keith Brendley.[4] He said the system is ready to be deployed onto battlefields.[5] The U.S. Army will test the Iron Curtain in 2016.[6]

Vehicles Integrated[edit]

The system has been integrated onto three ground vehicles: the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle built by BAE Systems, the MATV built by Oshkosh Defense, and the Humvee built by AM General.[7][8] In addition, General Dynamics Land Systems designed the system for integration onto its LAV III.[9]

See also[edit]

Active protection system


  1. ^ "Genius computer stops rockets right before impact". io9. June 25, 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Artis Iron Curtain Active Protection System (APS): Shoot-Down Ballistic Reactive Ground Vehicle Defense System". (DR). 30 August 2009. Retrieved 2016-05-13. 
  3. ^ DoD Approves Israeli Radar for US Iron Curtain Testing -, 30 August 2016
  4. ^ "Iron Curtain Successful in Firing Tests". Defense Update. April 29, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  5. ^ "Vehicle protection system excels". U.P.I. May 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  6. ^ Army Vehicle-Mounted Developed Active Protection Systems Detect, Track and Destroy Enemy Fire -, 9 May 2016
  7. ^ "US Army; Two contenders gear up for GCV active protection". Defence Market Intelligence. June 24, 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  8. ^ "DARPA Iron Curtain Detects, Explodes RPGS from a moving Humvee". Gizmodo. December 2, 2009. Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  9. ^ "Iron Curtain Active Protection System". Richard C. Young. May 30, 2013. Retrieved 2015-08-02. 

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