MAD-FIRES –Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System

DARPA is working on what is essentially a gun launched guided missile, and reading their description or this report of testing of the rocket motor, you would not know that it is intended for the 57mm Mk110 gun currently mounted on the National Security Cutters (NSC) and planned for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). Fortunately the video above makes that clear. The portion related to MAD-FIRES is time 6:30 to 7:35. (I have seen some indications they plan to use the same technology on different size rounds, but the 57mm looks like the first beneficiary.)

“Envisioned benefits of MAD-FIRES for future systems include:

  • “Improved real-time defense against evolving air and surface combat threats, facilitated by:
    • “Extreme precision
    • “An ability to defend against greater numbers of simultaneous and diverse attacks
  • “Decreased per-engagement costs by a factor of 10 or more
  • “Potential future applicability to air and ground platforms”

MAD-FIRES Projectile. Photo by Dederot

6 thoughts on “MAD-FIRES –Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System

  1. A lot of effort is going into the 57mm. Another reason I favor standardizing on it where possible.

    One weapon system with credible capabilities against disparate threats. Perhaps not the ideal weapon for some of those threats but credible.

    • Yes, there is the ALaMO round as well. Makes me think a 57mm on the WPB replacement might be worthwhile. Too bad the weapons chosen for the OPC weren’t 5″ forward and 57mm aft.

    • You might need a hundred rounds to destroy a target and only one of these smart rounds, but that is not really the cost. The cost is that you fill dozens of magazines with rounds that you will actually probably never use, so that, if needed, one unit will have the ammunition it needs.

      But as you say we need the capability. On the other hand this may be worst of both alternatives. Missile rounds are expensive, but their launchers are relatively cheap. Gun rounds are cheap but the Launcher is expensive. In this case we may have expensive rounds and an expensive launcher.

      • I don’t mean to say, these would not be a good idea. Could be like the VT (proximity) fuses of WWII, technological marvel delivered in quantity at a reasonable price. Just thinking, for the Coast Guard, something like Hellfire might still be the best alternative against the smaller end of the threat spectrum. Also because these are so small they are not likely to be of much help against larger vessels, no matter how accurate they are, while Hellfires might help there as well.

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