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Hensoldt has delivered its 300th Multifunctional Self-Protection System (MUSS) for the German Army’s PUMA infantry fighting vehicle, the company announced on 12 September.

Deliveries have therefore been made of some 1,500 devices, comprising 1,200 sensor heads and 300 central units. Hensoldt is under contract to deliver a total of 342 MUSS equipment sets by 2020 to primes Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. In addition, the company’s Optronics subsidiary provides the PUMA programme with weapons optronics systems, periscopes and driver sighting systems. MUSS was the Active Protection System (APS) selected for the British Defence Science & Technology Laboratory MEDUSA programme, delivered by QinetiQ in the UK and Australia. MUSS was successfully integrated onto the British Army CHALLENGER 2 main battle tank by BAE Systems and the capability extensively trialed by serving British Army personnel during the Op User Trials. 

“Electronic protection systems like MUSS are opening up enhanced possibilities for protecting armoured vehicles from attacks, as is already the case for aircraft or helicopters,” commented Thomas Müller, Hensoldt’s CEO.Compared to conventional solutions, we are able to increase the protection level considerably without adding weight or risking collateral damage around the vehicle.”

MUSS drastically reduces the likelihood of a hit by antitank guided missiles or laser-guided munitions and is the only operational soft-kill active protection system for ground vehicles currently available. It achieves a level of protection which is not possible for the same total weight with passive armour, while avoiding collateral damage. 

Each MUSS system consists of four warning sensors, a central unit, an infrared jammer head, jammer electronics and a smoke grenade launcher. The warning sensors detect approaching missiles and laser beams aimed at the vehicle. The central unit activates an infrared jammer, which interferes with missiles’ guidance systems, and/or initiates the use of pyrotechnic countermeasures.

An active protection system like MUSS defeats threats before they strike a vehicle, by sensing them and providing a ‘soft’ response based on jamming or obscuration of the guidance mechanism, with no risk of collateral damage. Moreover, MUSS is a discrete solution which has no significant influence on the vehicle radiation, as it features only passive sensors and an infrared jammer with a short activation time, not detectable in either the visible or thermal spectra.

Deliveries of MUSS systems for the PUMA IFV will be complete by next year. (Photo: Hensoldt)

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