Pirat ATGM Launched by a Robot [VIDEO]
Pirat ATGM was launched from the ZSMU A3C remote-controlled weapons system integrated on an autonomous 4x4 robotic platform, during the field tests that took place in December. The test launch was organized jointly by MESKO S.A., ZM Tarnów, and CRW-Telesystem-Mesko. The ZSMU station with the Pirat system may be however integrated onto any platform - from unmanned ones to standard patrol or reconnaissance vehicles, or even APCs.
The scenario of tests carried out in late 2021 involved a robot developed within the framework of the project entitled "Autonomous Wheeled Vehicle with a Weapons Station Designed for Reconnaissance and Combat Missions". The project was pursued by a consortium formed by ZM Tarnów S.A., STEKOP S.A., and the Military University of Technology. It was supported by a subsidy, provided by the National Centre for Research and Development.
The robot fitted with the ZSMU A3C remote control weapons station was integrated with a Pirat ATGM launcher. The missile was launched with the use of a CLU-P designator developed jointly by PCO S.A. and CRW Telesystem-Mesko. The designator was located around 100 meters away from the launcher platform. Pirat successfully hit the target located around 1,000 meters away. One should note that it takes ca. 4 seconds for the Pirat ATGM to reach its target at this distance. This is a good performance feat, assuming that the weapon would be used on the European battlefield.
Representatives of CRW Telesystem-Mesko stress that all of the assumptions were met during the test. It was confirmed that Pirat ATGM may be launched with the use of a remote control weapons station designed for multi-platform integration and with the use of an unmanned system weighing up to 900 kilograms. The test took place in winter conditions. All of the above speaks to the high efficiency of the Pirat ATGM, CLU-P system, and the unmanned platform integrated with the RCWS. The weapons station was fitted with standard observation systems during the test. Ultimately it is to be integrated fully with the CLU designator.
It took 6 months from the launch of the technology demonstrator development (unveiled at MSPO 2021, on a different platform) to the first launch. The system was prepared quite quickly, the same applies to the CLU-P system itself. The prototype of the latter, utilized during the test launches of the Pirat ATGM, also took around 6 months. The above means that the Polish industry can prepare and integrate optoelectronics and fire control systems for missiles rapidly. It also remains capable of integrating the aforesaid solutions on various combat platforms. This is especially relevant, as the system is to be integrated on multiple, varied, manned, and unmanned platforms. The rapid integration was possible thanks to the open architecture of the ZSMU module.
One should note, however, that the scope of the test programme has been much broader. Apart from test launches, the CLU-P prototype was tested in adverse weather conditions, with the presence of heavy winds and snow. The same applies to the remote control solution. It turned out that the remote control system was capable of controlling all CLU-P functionalities from a covert position, and of transmitting video signal (observation of the laser spot included), at a distance of around 3 kilometers.
The Polish system, utilizing laser-guided ordnance, may find multiple applications soon. It is possible to provide laser guidance by an operator at a location where the CLU-P is available in a portable form, away from the CLU-P designator (with the use of remote control), or from a vehicle fitted with the said system.
It is also possible to launch the missile either with the use of the CLU-P used for target designation, or with the use of any other CLU-P - based both on a vehicle, or coming in a portable format. Tactics may be adopted in which only some of the CLU-P systems (portable or vehicle-based ones) are used for target designation, while other systems are used solely for launching the missiles. Targets designated by portable/self-propelled (RCWS-based) CLU-P systems may also be attacked by artillery, using PGMs (APR 155, APR 120), or even other systems, such as aircraft, helicopters, and UAVs (such as Bayraktar TB2), provided that these systems can utilize laser-guided weapons.
The ZSMU module integrated with the Pirat ATGM launcher and laser-target designator may be installed on a broad range of carrier platforms. It may be used as a weapon for the UGVs, but also conventional, manned platforms. This concerns 4x4 vehicles, such as Humvee, and other all-terrain vehicles, as well as the future Kleszcz and Pegaz platforms, or MRAP-class vehicles, such as Cougar.
The ZSMU/Pirat ATGM combo may gradually increase their anti-tank capabilities, both with the involvement of their own ATGM launcher, as well as any other of the aforesaid assets utilizing laser guided munitions (APR rounds, air-to-surface weapons). Thanks to the use of this system, the capability to act against armour, and, to some extent, rotary-winged aircraft, could be integrated on vehicles operated by reconnaissance or patrol/security elements.
This is relevant, as the potential adversary utilizes fighting vehicles in large numbers, both in armored and mechanized, as well as in airborne, or marine elements. There is a risk that elements equipped with BMD vehicles could engage in activities behind the enemy lines, creating a necessity to have a sufficient stock of effective countermeasures at one’s disposal. Pirat ATGM may be viewed as a countermeasure as such.
ZSMU may also be integrated on APCs - especially specialist variants, usually not carrying the automatic cannons. One could imagine an anti-tank element utilizing both manned and unmanned vehicles with weapon stations fitted with Pirat ATGMs, as well as foot-soldiers with portable systems. Units as such, remaining in touch, could neutralize targets they designate, and, in the right circumstances, designate targets for artillery units utilizing PGMs or even air assets, UAVs included.
Noteworthy, artillery assets capable of utilizing modern precision-guided munitions are becoming more and more common in the Polish Armed Forces. Until 2024, more than 120 Rak self-propelled mortars are to remain in service, in 15 support companies of mechanized and motorized battalions, along with more than 120 Krab howitzers. Most of the aforesaid systems have already been delivered. The inclusion of precision-guided munitions in their inventory would make it possible to fully utilize the potential of equipment remaining in service.
There is great potential available in Poland, to create a multi-level PGM system utilizing laser-guided munitions, with those levels working mutually together. The first level would include vehicles fitted with RCWS (ZSMU) systems and portable CLU-P launchers, the second would be formed by the Krab and Rak artillery assets, and the third level would include air-to-ground systems. A system as such could be used against a broad spectrum of threats, from MBTs, and APCs, to critical infrastructure beyond the frontline, yet requiring a direct hit to destroy them - such as the enemy command vehicles.
More importantly, the first two components listed above could be developed by the Polish industry in their entirety - based on the existing know-how and technologies to a great extent. Pirat ATGM is designed to be cost-effective. Rapid integration of the missile and the ZSMU module is a testimony to the flexibility of both elements.
It is also important that both the Pirat ATGM, as well as the guidance systems, the ZSMU solution, and the precision-guided ammunition are all controlled by the Polish industry (Mesko S.A., CRW Telesystem-Mesko, ZM Tarnów, PCO S.A.). There are no limitations then, when it comes to further development of the system, and selection of platforms onto which it is going to be integrated. All money spent on procurement and development could be circulated exclusively within the Polish economy.