Army Sending New Counter-Rocket System to Afghanistan

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U.S. Army equipment officials recently tested an improved version of a counter-rocket system designed to protect convoys as well as squads on foot.

The new Counter Rocket Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Response System Enhanced is scheduled to undergo an operational evaluation with soldiers in Afghanistan this fall. At the same time, the new system will take part in the Network Integration Exercise as well. Officials from the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force held a CROSSHAIRS Enhanced Net Modernization Exercise last week to evaluate operational readiness and reduce risk in the two high-profile events.

CROSSHAIRS Enhanced is a spiral, development effort funded by REF to expand on the basic CROSSHAIRS capability. The REF partnered with DARPA, to equip the original CROSSHAIRS systems to units in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012. The modular set of capabilities includes direct fire detection and direction finding; a slew to cue capability using the existing common remotely Operated Weapon System and a command and control display that can be mounted on any vehicle platform. The system gives convoys the situational awareness required to make critical operational decisions, such as to engage an enemy or not based on positive identification of a combatant, REF officials maintain.

Initially, the feedback was, “Hey, CROSSHAIRS is great, but I need the same information and video feeds when I dismount,” said REF Scientist Dr. Jesse Hester. “If a soldier encounters a threat while on dismount patrol, they do not want to have to run back to the vehicle to see the CROSSHAIRS video. It would be much better if they could take cover in place and access the same situational awareness.”

Additionally, soldiers requested the video feeds to be shared in all vehicles of the convoy.

In Nov of 2012, the REF began investigating off-the-shelf equipment to provide an “on the go” network bubble and to deliver video feed to subsequent vehicles in a convoy and dismounted troops. They added 4G antennas, UAS signal processor, video integration and display units, networking equipment as well as the required power supply and air conditioning units.

Additionally, CROSSHAIRS Enhanced provides a Maxx Pro vehicle configuration for additional convoy vehicles. The Maxx Pro will be outfitted with a 4G receiver, the video display unit, as well as a 4G router.

CROSSHAIRS Enhanced provides up to twenty inter-squad, smart phone receivers. Project Manager Soldier Warrior selected the Samsung Note II; however, the CROSSHAIRS Enhanced suite is technology-independent and will be compatible with any smart phone selected by the program manger, REF officials maintain.

REF officials are scheduled to deliver CROSSHAIRS Enhanced upgrade systems to units in Afghanistan in September. Simultaneously, the package will participate in NIE 14.1 held at Ft Bliss, Texas.

About the Author

Matt Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.
  • Lance

    So some bases in the sand box will get a aircraft carrier Phalanx System. When can the military get a real AAA system too? Not putting this down I think its good. But can we make a mole AAA system like the M-163 Vulcan we had before they retired in the mid 2000s. But can this be a new AA system too? can we mount it onto a M-113, or Bradley chassis and have a true AAA system for ground forces?

    • majr0d

      From Darpa.mil “The CROSSHAIRS program seeks to develop a vehicle mounted threat detection and countermeasure system that will detect, locate, and engage shooters, as well as defeat a variety of threats including bullets, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank guided missiles, and direct fired mortars, while stationary and moving. Threat identification and localization will be accomplished in sufficient time to enable both automatic and man-in-the-loop responses. The weapon station will be equipped with visual and infrared cameras for collecting forensic and judicial evidence and for rapid dissemination of combatant location information for effective concealment and counterfire.”

      CROSSHAIRS ID’s where the shot came from. It can also be connected to a weapons system so the system points at where the threat came from. CROSSHAIRS isn’t a weapons system but actually a surveillance system.

    • brownie

      Ain’t gonna happen. We build ’em and sell ’em to Norway – a Raytheon Hawk 23 ground version of the ASRAAM.
      Most units have NO ability to defend against ANY air attack at the point blank defense level.
      There is a level of arrogance, that the US will dominate contested air space and that Chinese or Russian ground combat aircraft like the Frog won’t get through. BS.
      The Russian Pansir S1 is a BEAUTIFUL piece of equipment, combining SAMS and 2 30mm cannon.

    • Ben
  • A. Nonymous

    But what if the Taliban develop an anti-counter-rocket system? Hopefully DARPA is funding the development of a counter-anti-counter-rocket system so we can maintain our technological edge. /s

    • Ben

      The Taliban, or any other of the usual suspects, are not capable of “developing” much of anything. Not much to worry about there.

      • A. Nonymous

        /s = sarcasm. Whoosh!

  • DB-1

    I always knew that it would be a matter of time before someone came up with a system like this, once its perfected it will be suicide for any enemy to even fire on US troops. It will re-write Battle Drill 2 in the infantry manual.

    • Adm

      We’ve heard that for decades. The enemy doesn’t stand still either.

      • DB-1

        Of course I know the enemy doesn’t stand still, neither do lead projectiles

  • Ted Taylor

    It will never work except under optimum conditions. Also these people don’t care about dying. You overwhelm the system and see how it fails.

  • hibeam

    How about we provide air support for our friends on the ground? If we don’t have friends on the ground then we don’t need to be there in the first place. If our “friends” can not dominate with air support then they are not willing to fight and we don’t need to be there. Got it? Happy to help out. Put more money into drone systems. Don’t be afraid to use them.

    • Ben

      You should really sit down and spend a weekend reading 1984 by George Orwell.

  • Tony C.

    What is CROSSHAIRS supposed to intercept, RPG’s or ballistic surface to surface, or mortars? We know RPG’s are a big threat and the birdcage armor is supposed to defeat them. Dismounted troops aren’t so lucky.

  • AccessDenied

    Does this really clear the fog of war?. Troops are always getting L and U shaped ambushed by Taliban teams shooting behind cover and using’= ‘murder holes’ has been effective. That, and IEDs and Insider attacks of course, works too.

    US troops do a lot of random firing at the first few minutes of an ambush. I would have thought they could have solved the confusion by now. Infantryman also need something more devastating than M4’s and Saws. Too bad the XM25 has problems. The Carl Gustav 84mm and standard 40mm is a winner though,.

  • ekeith2000
  • ohwilleke

    “CROSSHAIRS Enhanced is a spiral, development effort funded by REF to expand on the basic CROSSHAIRS capability. The REF partnered with DARPA . . . . The modular set of capabilities includes direct fire detection and direction finding; a slew to cue capability using the existing common remotely Operated Weapon System and a command and control display that can be mounted on any vehicle platform. The system gives convoys the situational awareness required to make critical operational decisions . . . .”

    Just because the press release is written in inside the beltway gobbledygook doesn’t mean that the story here needs to be written that way.

    Where are the basics of the story? Does it throw slugs or use a laser? How much does it cost? Has there been any testing prior to “operation evaluation”? Do they have decent 4G networks in BFE Afghanistan when I have lousy service in my townhouse?

    • Yvettes Sherpa

      If I read this right and I think I did. The main system transmits signal on a 4G network to the rest of the convoy. They are not trying to get signal for the local cell service.

      And truth be told a lot of third world countries have better cell service then we do because that is where their money has gone. It is not being used on land lines.

    • blight_

      They’re probably using “4G” in peer-to-peer/point-to-point mode vs the “transmit to hub, hub retransmit”

    • ohwilleke

      Answering my own question, after looking into it a little, apparently the thing simply tells you where the shots aimed at you are coming from, so that you can shoot the guy yourself. It is a pure unarmed sensor system, not a true counter-rocket system.

      • Riceball

        In other words it’s a scaled down version of our counter battery radar system(s).

  • PolicyWonk

    Since the US is on the way out of Afghanistan, this amounts to giving the system a try-out under “combat” conditions.

    Once we’re done in Afghanistan, there aren’t any major conflicts the US is involved with – meaning it’ll also be harder to test things under these conditions.

    • AngryVietnamVet

      Mankind has been killing itself since “Cain slew Abel.” And you think this is a bit too late? In the last 200 years, there have been 12 years of “no wars” and that’s probably BS since someone’s always getting killed over some kind of tom foolery.
      Do you think now that we have an Administration that’s watched “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” one time too many (“Run away, run away!”) that the plethora of American haters will just call it quits?
      You and most of the American public just don’t get it. Click your heels and wish for Kansas, cause that might be your next AO.
      Whatever the time is, as long as people are alive, there’s always time for another war.

  • DB-1

    People they are fielding this thing to TEST IT UNDER COMBAT CONDITIONS to see how it works or not and to make it better if possible, or to maybe even scrap it. Nothing is perfect give it a chance and see how it performs, Geez some of you are a bunch of negative nymphos…

    • blight_

      The way to test it under fire would be to park it on a range and start shooting at it with everything you can get your hands on.

      If you could drive it through a bog, gravel road and desert, get it rained on, put it in the freezer and then blow up the vehicle and /then/ fire rockets at it, you should push it beyond the abuse it’ll take in the field.

  • AussieREMF

    http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=5… states:

    The radar detects and tracks the incoming round. An embedded optical sensor gives a profile of the round. “Based on a lot of shots, we know exactly where to hit that RPG to make it dud,”

    So what does that make it? A laser?

    • AngryVietnamVet

      Speak up the enemy can’t hear you well enough.

  • brok3n

    Off the shelf? How about the Israeli Trophy system!

  • HERKEY ANDERSON

    dont send the savages anything.

  • Ben