Internal and external threats to traditional defense acquisition efforts are placing a greater premium on the importance of maximizing modularity in solving future combat lethality challenges via cost effective solutions. Traditional lengthy procurement processes, especially for technology enhancements, are ill-suited to maintain an acceptable pace with the rapid pace of global weapon sophistication and technological development. Technology cost increases, especially for small quantity orders, and self-imposed constraints in defense budgets also propose significant challenges to government and industry efforts to gain or maintain a technological edge over adversaries and competitors. Furthermore, the more complex and highly contested operating environments of future conflicts will require rapid transformation through evolutionary or revolutionary advances in the development of future sensors and lethality systems, capable of accomplishing the mission against threats with increasing range, lethality, and sophistication.
Modularity through open system architectures enables government partners to seek system independent acquisitions, reuse proven hardware designs, and exploit breakout solutions in emerging technology that offer significant improvements in discreet capabilities, or transform threat defeat mechanisms, in a manner that provides reasonable cost alternatives over the complete life cycle of a system. Additionally, as various elements within a defense force modernize capabilities independently, modularity ensures a way to gain or maintain joint interoperability. Where applicable, modularity can also reduce new training requirements by maintaining the same or similar user interface experience.
Defense industry partners also benefit from the incorporation of modularity in their designs. As the playing field is leveled across the greater defense industry body, there is greater incentive for investment in iterative product development to provide an initial operational capability with current technology and a clear path to market with greater capability as software and hardware technology matures, and/or size, weight, power, and cooling reduce. There are more opportunities for collaboration with non-traditional defense industry partners and system engineering houses that specialize in niche capabilities to meet future warfighter needs within most operationally relevant times. There is lower developmental, integration, and fielding risk to industry through development of subsystems via a common architecture. Furthermore, modular solutions provide an opportunity for subcontractors, and benefit prime vendors, to provide systems that contribute to the holistic platform solution vice just an independent ‘bespoke’ lethality system.
With the uncertainty of future operating environments and adversary development over time, modularity provides flexibility across the range of military operations and threats over the lengthy service life of modern combat vehicle systems. Examples of modular components include lethality solutions such as the main gun, from medium machine guns to medium caliber cannons or heavy anti-material cannons. As anti-tank weapons advance, modular canisters affixed to turret sides can be upgraded or swapped from missiles to emerging technologies such as the loitering munitions entering service today. Many nations are placing a premium on sensing the future operating environment across the electromagnetic spectrum. As such, direction finders, radars, telescoping masts, or tethered unmanned aerial systems with electro-optical sensors should be able to be swapped out in a turret or the chassis of a vehicle and operate on the system’s open architecture. Ancillary systems such as laser warning indicators, obscuration launchers, local situational cameras, and chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear sensors should also be developed as modular solutions. These are but a few examples of modular systems that could be integrated on an open architecture, modular system over time to the benefit of government partners, prime contractors, and an expanded pool of subcontractors offering the most capable solutions to problems that arise.
John Cockerill Defense is the industry leader for direct fire combat system design, development, production, and integration. In addition to the currently manufactured modular Cockerill™ 3000 series weapons systems, capable of integrating medium and large caliber cannons, John Cockerill Defense seeks to be a whole system of systems integrator and contributor through the integration of lethality solutions, sensors, and support equipment with an open architecture and offering a common man-machine interface across most ground and surface platforms through the Cockerill™ Light Weapon Station (CLWS), the Cockerill™ Protected Weapon Station (CPWS), and the Cockerill™ 1030 (C1030) and the Cockerill™ 3000 systems. John Cockerill Defense’s experience and expertise in modular lethality systems enables its leading position as the reliable, proven, and cost-effective lethality partner to solve future combat problems with the ability to maintain an acceptable pace for technological superiority, force transformation and interoperability over the major system life cycle while managing risk for both industry and militaries alike.