At the Euronaval 2022 naval defense exhibition in Paris, Nexter and Thales unveiled the latest version of RAPIDFire autonomous gun turret designed to protect platforms from low-level air threats, including drones. It is one of the only air defense systems that can autonomously and automatically acquire, identify and destroy a threat using target designation data provided by a combat management system.
With a ready rack of 10 rounds of ammunition, corresponding to about 30 interceptions, the system offers effective firepower against drones and swarms of drones, avoiding attrition of surface-to-air missiles in the event of a saturation attack. Thanks to an automatic real-time selection of different types of ammunition, RAPIDFire is the only system capable of defeating all types of threats, including personal watercraft, free-floating mines, ships, loitering munitions, unmanned aerial systems, fighter jets, attack helicopters and missiles at ranges of up to 4,000 meters.
RAPIDFire is extremely accurate and can defeat threats with no risk of collateral damage thanks to the coupling between the fire control system and the turret and ultimately through the use of Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) munitions that cannot be jammed, decoyed, or triggered by clutter as it deals with airborne targets.
A3B rounds are time-fuzed for greater effectiveness against all types of targets and cannot be jammed, decoyed, or triggered by clutter. RAPIDFire is built around the 40 mm CTA gun suite and ammunition and has already been adopted by the armed forces of France, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.
The RAPIDFire can be adapted for land-based platforms such as the CAESAR MkII truck chassis. Thanks to its intuitive user interface and on-the-move firing capability, this system can be seamlessly integrated into a fixed or mobile air defense system to protect combat units on the ground as well as military bases, logistics convoys, sensitive sites, and high-value assets. This air defense system is scheduled to be deployed next year for sea qualifications aboard the French Navy’s fleet replenishment tanker Jacques Chevallier.