Defense companies have developed advanced gun turret to counter drone swarms

The system autonomously ensures high interception accuracy while retaining a non-penetrating turret design.
Baba Tamim
RAPIDFire autonomous air defense turret.
RAPIDFire autonomous air defense turret.


US and French defense companies have unveiled the latest version of the RAPIDFire autonomous gun turret at the Euronaval 2022, a naval defense exhibition, in Paris.

The gun turret which is a joint effort of Nexter and Thales, is claimed to counter growing low-level, close-quarters surface and aerial threats, as per a press release published by the defense company Nexter on Wednesday.

“Designed to protect platforms from low-level air threats, including drones, RAPIDFire is one of the only air defence systems that can autonomously and automatically acquire, identify and destroy a threat using target designation data provided by a combat management system,” said the press release.

“With a ready rack of 140 rounds of ammunition, corresponding to about 30 interceptions, the system offers effective firepower against drones and swarms of drones, avoiding attrition of surface-to-air missiles in the event of a saturation attack.”

A gun turret is a self-contained structure, capable of rotation, in which weapons are mounted, especially in tanks and warships.

Nexter Systems is a French government-owned weapons manufacturer, based in Roanne, Loire.

While Thales Defense & Security, Inc., a subsidiary of the Thales Group, is a leading manufacturer of tactical communications equipment, the AN/PRC-148 MBITR and JEM are currently fielded with the US Army and NATO forces worldwide.

Advanced RAPIDFire turret

Defense companies have developed advanced gun turret to counter drone swarms
RAPIDFire autonomous gun turret.

Because of the coupling between the fire control system and the turret, and ultimately through the use of Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) munitions, APIDFire is extremely accurate and “can defeat threats with no risk of collateral damage,” claims the company.

The technological “powerhouse” with Compact, modern architecture accommodates the 40 mm CTA gun, ammunition, and sighting system to autonomously ensure high interception accuracy while retaining a non-penetrating turret design.

Its 40 mm CTA gun is compatible with the full range of CTAI 40 mm telescoped munitions, including the future Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) round against airborne targets.

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Thales high-precision optronic fire control system with turret-mounted multispectral sight and high-rate laser rangefinder has multi-target capability with quick response time and automatic selection of various types of ammunition.

The RAPIDFire multi-domain system is easily adaptable to land-based platforms such as the CAESAR MkII truck chassis. This system can be easily integrated into existing systems due to its simple user interface and on-the-fly firing capability, the company claims.

The armed forces of France, the United Kingdom, and Belgium have already implemented RAPIDFire, which is based on the 40 mm CTA gun suite and ammunition, said the press release.

2015 saw the formation of KNDS, a joint venture between Nexter and Krauss Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the systems integrator and designer for the Leclerc and Leopard MBT.

The two groups' skills and expertise are combined through this amalgamation in order to better handle export markets in the face of fiercer competition and satisfy the demands of the French and German armies.

A continual arms race between offensive and defensive technologies has characterized military technology for a long time. Every new method of assault inspires the creation of a new method of defense. Especially, since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, the European countries have rapidly increased their defense spendings.

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