Icarus: enhancing survivability of British Army Vehicles

Icarus: enhancing survivability of British Army Vehicles

Providing the best protection for our armed forces is of paramount importance to the Ministry of Defence and the UK industry that supports it. The exploitation of the latest scientific innovation plays a key role in achieving this objective. 


The UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) ‘Icarus’ Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP) announced by the Defence Secretary at DSEi 2017, seeks to find a way to maximise the protection of British Army vehicles against current and future weapons in constantly evolving operational environments.


Depsite advances in both armour and mobility, the survivability of any vehicle is enhanced greatly if it can first reduce the chances of it being targeted by threats such as Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and Anti-Tank Guided Weapons (ATGW).


Dstl has commissioned Leonardo to lead a team of UK companies and academic institutions, to develop and demonstrate a solution that will affordably integrate ‘best of breed’ technologies in a category known as ‘Active Protection Systems’ (APS).


APS technologies generally fall into either of two categories: ‘soft’ APS solutions that are focused on early threat detection and which attempt to disrupt, decoy or spoof the incoming threat and ‘hard’ APS systems that seek to defeat the incoming weapon system by physically intecepting it, known in military terminology as a ‘kinetic effect’.


The Leonardo team brings together a range of UK experts in their respective fields as well as representation from UK academia that can draw upon previous UK investment in related technical areas. Team members working to deliver the Icarus TDP are BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin UK, Ultra Electronics, Frazer-Nash, Vetronics Research Centre, Abstract Solutions, Roke Manor Research and SCISYS.


Icarus TDP Infographic


One of the primary objectives of the team is to develop and demonstrate a UK sovereign Modular, Integrated Protection System (MIPS) Electronic Architecture (EA) that enables “best of breed” APS sensors and countermeasures to be selected, integrated and deployed across the Army’s fleet of land vehicles in order to defeat the wide range of battlefield weapon threats present in varying operational environments. Leonardo was chosen as the  lead due, in part, to our experience in the field of ‘open-systems’ integration such as our instrumental role in the development of the UK’s Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) standard and the related NATO-GVA (N-GVA) standard.


Under the Icarus TDP, and in conjunction with Dstl, the Leonardo team will establish and cultivate an UK industry APS Community of Interest (CoI). The purpose of this CoI initiative is to look beyond the extant team and encourage further engagement with UK industry to ensure that the very best APS technologies available – now and in the future – are considered within the MIPS EA.



Join the UK Active Protection Community of Interest & Action (UKACIA) working group

We are inviting people to join the UKACIA working group, which will nominally meet twice per year, one day duration, in southern UK location(s). It has the following objectives:

  • Identify industry stakeholders with expertise/technology elements for Active Protection Systems.
  • Add technical direction to the Icarus TDP.
  • Build an effective communication network so that industry partners can report on applicable technical developments within their organisations and can be kept up to date with Authority research activities in this area.
  • Ensure that MIPS solutions are acceptable to, and seen as best practice by, potential adopters.



If you fall into any of the following categories, we would encourage you to join the group: Icarus Delivery Team; APS Product Supply Chain, MOD Departments; Academic Bodies; Legislative Organisations.


Why Apply?

  • Receive updates on MOD’s thinking and approach to the future acquisition, deployment, and sustainment of active protection capability across the British Army vehicle fleet.
  • Have opportunities to learn about and influence the future development and adoption of APS and equipment in the British Army via review and critique of the evolving MIPS Standard.
  • Receive briefings on progress of the Icarus programme.
  • Have the opportunity to offer the supply of equipment and services to support the Icarus demonstration of MIPS Architecture capability, subject to compliance with performance and security requirements


UKACIA application form


We're aware that some applications may not have been received by the Icarus Project Office, due to a technical issue that has now been resolved. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience and resubmit your application if you have not yet received a response to your application.



This page will be updated regularly with the latest information on the progress of the team.