GALIX - Multi-Purpose Passive Self-Defence System for Land Platforms

  • Ilustracja: NASA Space Apps Challenge
  • Asłan Usojan - fot.
  • Fot.
  • Ilustracja: DARPA.

French Lacroix company, during the MSPO event in Kielce, showcased its multi-spectral GALIX passive countermeasures system which makes it possible to “hide” the land vehicles from optronic, laser, infrared guided weapons. The system may also be used actively (also as a non-lethal solution).

The Lacroix company is well known in Poland for its passive defence systems, destined to be used on the naval vessels. After years of research, the French engineers have developed a globally unique package of solutions which, in a complex manner, offer a capacity of protecting the vessel from the latest “smart” surveillance and observation systems.

Such naval passive self-protection system consists of the SYLENA MK2 control station which may, should a threat be detected, use the SEACLAD family of jamming devices and  decoys. Lacroix propose unique solutions that have no counterparts around the world. Here we are referring to the following systems: SEALEM radar decoys (featuring corner reflectors which are used to act as a countermeasure against missiles which are guided with an active radar), SEALIR thermal decoys (with IR jamming devices which are used to act as a countermeasure against the missiles using a passive IR guidance system) and electric-acoustic SEALAT decoys, the purpose of which is to overload the torpedo guidance systems.

Galix System Structure

Using the aforesaid solutions and expertise, Lacroix company, in collaboration with Nexter  has designed a similar system for the land forces. The system is known under the name GALIX, and it is capable of hiding the vehicle  from an approaching threat and protecting the vehicles, main battle tanks or APCs on which the system is installed.

System GALIX
System Galix zainstalowany na francuskim, opancerzonym pojeździe rozpoznawczym AMX 10RCR. Fot. M.Dura

GALIX features an analysis block and a control block (with the latter one being manual or automatic), up to 24 mortar-like launchers for decoys and less-lethal ammunition, with a low elevation setting (10° in most cases). Three variants of the control system are proposed. For light vehicles, an autonomous GALIX system has been designed, with an option of manual launch.

For the combat vehicles, in case of which the crew has no time to deal with suddenly emerging threats, a fully automated variant of the system is proposed. In such case, the system reacts to signals delivered by a variety of sensors used on the platform, including, above all, Laser Warning Sensors.

Moreover, a version for a “group protection” vehicles has been developed. Here, the launchers may also be utilized to provide protection toothers vehicules , operating nearby. Such suite is developed in line with the MIL-STD 1275 D norm, with 28V DC power supply. 

The variants differ by the quantity of launchers: 6-8,12 or 24 depending the version. Secondly, the said versions have also different analysis block which in case of the combat and “covering” vehicles may be operated in a fully automated manner. GALIX system, dedicated to be used in case of combat and “covering” vehicles, is also tailored to cooperate with warning systems and also GPS or weather station, among other devices.

Model pojazdu z systemem GALIX
Model pojazdu „osłony” wyposażonego w system GALIX z FASCU. Fot.

For the variant in case of which the level of complexity is the lowest, a simple Basic System Control Unit has been developed, allowing the user to yield control over more than 12 launchers. There is an option of launching half of all grenades available. BASCU (Basic Automatic System Control Unit makes it possible to manually or automatically control (on a request coming from a decision system) 12 launchers simultaneously. And in this case, there is an option of launching manually only a half of the available charges. Alternatively, the system may be divided into two packages mounted on a single vehicle.

The most advanced and expansive variants use the FASCU (Fully Automatic System Control Unit) control block which allows the user to manually or automatically control up to 24 launchers.

Blok kontroli FASCU
W pełni automatyczny blok kontroli FASCU systemu GALIX – fot.

The system is also capable of detecting the position of the threat and transfer this data to the fire control systems of the infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks. Then, these platforms may destroy the detected and indicated target, getting rid of the threat.

System GALIX
System GALIX może również wskazać cele dla znajdujących się w pobliżu systemów ogniowych – fot.

BSCU, BASCU and FASCU blocks differ within the scope of their size and weight. In case of the BSCU module, it comes in a form of a box with dimensions of 122x160x108 mm and it weighs 1.2 kilograms. BASCU is a block of the same dimensions, however its weight grows, up to 1.5 kilograms. Meanwhile, FASCU system is the largest one. Its dimensions are defined as 200x164x138 mm, and its weight is defined as more than 5 kilograms.

GALIX uses the same type of 80 mm launchers for any type of grenades and decoys. The launchers were designed in a way which makes it easy to reload them, without a need of cleaning them prior to carrying out that process, so that they may be used also after crossing the water obstacles. Such design also minimizes the time-related maintenance requirements. Purpose of the launcher is only to orient and maintain ammunition. Munition is its own mortar launcher.

Wyrzutnia systemu GALIX
Trzylufowa wyrzutnia systemu GALIX z załadowanym granatem GALIX 13 – fot.

Lacroix company proposes a comprehensive and complex solutions for the land platforms. For example, specialized frames have been designed, allowing the user to properly displace the launchers on vehicles of different shapes. A testing system for detecting damage and allowing the user to asses the readiness of the suite is also being offered. The testing system includes a “test grenade” assessing the status of the launch systems.

Ammunition for “Active” and “Passive” Operations

Galix suite is  not only for the purpose of self-defence (passive action) but also to actively act against the people of adverse stance. This is possible due to the fact that the Lacroix company proposes a wide variety of munitions which may reduce the effectiveness of opto-electronic observation systems, and act against the enemy personnel or hostile crowd (e.g. flashbang grenades).

System GALIX - granaty
System GALIX wykorzystuje sześć rodzajów granatów. Od lewej: granat GALIX 4 (nie wprowadzony), GALIX 19/19R, GALIX 46, GALIX 17 I, GALIX 17 i GALIX 13 – fot. Lacroix

At the moment, seven types of grenades are offered. They differ in size and in charge:

  • GALIX 13 (length – 330 mm, weight – 4.5 kg) – Multi-spectral combat smoke grenades;
  • GALIX 17 I (length – 265 mm, weight – 3.7 kg) – Multi-spectral training smoke grenades;

Dwa granaty GALIX 13 i jeden GALIX 17 I (w środku) – fot.

  • GALIX 17 (length – 330 mm, weight – 4.5 kg) – Reloadable training smoke grenades;
  • GALIX 19/19 R (length – 265 mm, weight – 2.2 kg) – Sound grenade for crowd management;
  • GALIX 46 (length – 265 mm, weight – 2.4 kg) –  Crowd dispersal grenade (with a kinetic, acoustic and smoke charges, causing irritation);
  • GALIX 29 (length – 265 mm, weight – 2.2 kg) – Flashbang grenade for crowd management; This ammunition is under development

GALIX 13 grenades may disturb, within the period from one to more than forty seconds, operation of the optical observation systems, laser guided weapons, night vision devices and FLIR systems operating in both IR bands. The grenades in question are operated in two stages. Once the grenade is launched “instantaneous” section of the projectile is initiated which, in one second, creates a smoke screen which is impenetrable for the observation systems, at a distance of around 20 meters from the vehicles. As a second stage, other grenades , during the time they spend in the air, activate the “smoke” charge which creates a smoke-screen of longer duration, at distance of more than 50 meters.

This type of sequence makes it possible to hide the vehicle, allowing it to leave the area of threat, at the same time being invisible for the enemy observation systems. The size of the  smokescreen created depends on the number of the launched grenades. In case of 6 projectiles, GALIX 13 covers a circular arc of 90°, when 8 projectiles are used, the circular arc goes up to 120°.

In case of the training GALIX 17 I smoke grenade, only the “instantaneous” portion is active.  Using the system described above, a smokescreen which would have a duration from one to 25 seconds, at distance of 20 meters from the vehicle may be created in a 90° circular arc (when 6 GALIX 17 I grenades are used) and 120° circular arc (when using 8 GALIX 17 I grenades). Such smoke-screen, similarly as in case of the GALIX 13 grenades, is effective also with a reference to the optical observation systems, laser guided weapons, night-vision devices and thermal vision cameras for both IR bands.

Efekt odpalenia salwy ośmiu granatów GALIX 17 I – fot. Lacroix

GALIX 17 training grenade is effective only in visible range. Purpose of this ammunition is to train the crew to the effect of the GALIX 13 ammunition. Using the system described above, a screen which would have a duration from one to 30 seconds, at distance of 20 meters from the vehicle (immediate screen) and 50 meters from the vehicle (smoke screen) may be created in a 90° circular arc (when 6 GALIX 17 grenades are used) and 120° circular (when using 8 GALIX 17 grenades). Similarly as in case of the GALIX 13 grenade, GALIX 17 features two separate sections.

GALIX 19/19R is an acoustic crowd management grenade which, in less than a second, generates sound with power ranging from 157 to 163 dB at distances of 24 and 48 meters from the vehicle. The sector within which the grenade is operable is identical to the one present in case of the GALIX 13, GALIX 17 and GALIX 17 I grenades. 

GALIX 46 is a smoke-kinetic-acoustic grenade, used for the crowd dispersal purposes. It becomes active in less than one second, at distances from 0 to 24 meters, with three non-lethal crowd dispersing effects. 

GALIX 29 is a flashbang grenade, which creates sound power of 180 dB (pain threshold for humans is defined as around 190 dB, for an impulse sound). This grenade is launched in single shots and becomes active at 150 meters from the vehicle and around 10 meters above the ground. 

GALIX System Application

Lacroix proposes solutions which are unique, in a global dimension. These solutions are also proven. Land passive defence systems manufactured by the Lacroix have been installed on more than 5 000 military vehicles.

GALIX na czołgu Leclrec
GALIX Passive Self-Defence System used, e.g. in case of the Leclerc tank - Image Credit: M. Dura

GALIX system has also been selected by Sweden, and are mounted onboard the Stridsvagn 122 main battle tanks (derivative of the Leopard 2 platform) and CV 90 IFVs. The suite has also mounted aboard of the new Canadian LAV.

GALIX launchers have been also implemented onboard the wheeled 8x8 Centauro vehicles and Ariete tanks.

Recently Galix system has be integrated, during retrofit operation, on BMP3, G6, M113, M109 and other new vehicles RG 31, NIMR Dcan in UAE.