Infrared Signatures of the Muzzle Flash of a 120mm Tank Gun and their Implications for the Kinetic Evergy Active Protection System (KEAPS)

Report No. ARL-TR-909
Authors: Arnold Goldberg
Date/Pages: October 2001; 26 pages
Abstract: This report examines the results of infrared (IR) imaging of the firing of M865 kinetic energy (KE) rounds from a 120-mm tank gun in support of the Kinetic Energy Active Protection System (KEAPS) development. The primary objective was to determine the extent in time, space, and intensity of the muzzle flash in both the 3 to 5 micrometers (medium-wavelength IR or MWIR) and 8 to 12 micrometers (long-wavelength IR or LWIR) wavelength bands. The secondary objective was to determine whether or not the IR cameras could detect the KE rounds and/or their sabots and to what extent the sabots could cause false targets for a prospective active protection system. Results showed that the brightest parts of the muzzle flash extended up to 10 m on either side of the gun and that the intensity of the flash was enough to saturate the imagery for more than 0.5 s in each wavelength band. Additionally, the MWIR camera was essentially blinded for several frames soon after the gun was fired while the LWIR camera was able to provide high fidelity imagery for the entire duration of the flash. In addition, the LWIR camera was able to detect the KE round and the sabots consistently.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2001