Eurosatory 2024 – BAE Systems unveils its Tridon Mk2 C-UAS system

Paolo Valpolini

On Monday morning at Eurosatory a new C-UAS system was visible, the Tridon Mk2, developed by BAE Systems using existing technologies

With its history starting over 80 years ago, the Bofors 40, although in a wholly different version, is still well alive. At Eurosatory BAE Systems Bofors unveils the latest application of its 40 mm ordnance, developed to fill a gap identified by the company in the ground-based air defence (GBAD) segment, even before the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The advent on new complex threats on the battlefield, such as UAS saturation attacks, carried out by swarms of small unexpensive drones, added to more classic ones such as attack helicopters and close air support aircraft, make it more and more difficult for land formations to operate freely.

“Defeating those threats with high expensive missiles is not very cost-effective,” Stefan Löfström, Director Marketing and Sales at BAE Systems Bofors explains, justifying the company decision to develop an affordable system that can be deployed in numbers by a land force to ensure protection to mobile formations, the Tridon Mk2.

The new system has been developed putting together proved technologies, the Bofors 40 Mk4 gun, the Bofors 3P programmable all-target ammunition, an optronic fire control unit, and a mobility platform, the system being also deployable in a fixed position, for example when used for base protection.

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The Bofors Mk4 gun has a mass of around 2,300 kg without ammunition; typically, it is fitted with two magazines, containing respectively 30 rounds the primary one and 70 rounds the secondary one, which adds around 250 kg to the aforementioned mass. “We did only minor changing to the gun, strengthening the roof of the cupola while the cone beneath the gun has been modified in order to reduce the gun height to cope with Swedish traffic regulations,” Stefan Röstlund, the Tridon Mk2 Progamme manager at BAE Systems Bofors said.

According to BAE Systems Bofors data the maximum range of the 40 mm gun is 12,500 metres, the muzzle velocity when using the 3P round being 1,012 m/s. Maximum elevation is 80°, typical of a gun born for the anti-aircraft role, all actuators being electric, a slipring ensuring unlimited training over 360°. EDR On-Line understood that recoil is not a major issue even when fired from a mobility platform. 

First tests were performed from a commercial truck, Stefan Röstlund said, as the Scania G460 military truck, on which the Tridon Mk2 is exhibited at Eurosatory, was delivered in early spring. According to company representatives, tests demonstrated that the system can be fired from a 6×6 truck without the need of outriggers; “of course we have air in the tires as well as suspensions, so everything is moving while we fire, but during factory acceptance tests we proved that this is well within specifications, so we are pretty happy with the results right now,” Stefan Röstlund stated. All firing sessions took place at the Bofors Test Centre in Karlskoga, the BAE Systems Bofors hometown. First tests were performed in early February, while six more firing sessions took place in spring, against fixed and rotary wing UAVs of different sizes, among them the typical DJ Phantom. However, tests were also carried out against drones better representing those currently used in Ukraine. On request from the Swedish authorities, the Tridon Mk2 also fired other types of rounds, such as APFSDS, against ground targets, these being engaged in sequence, a way to test the self-defence capacity of the system.

Beside the Scania 6×6 platform used for trials, Stefan Löfström made it clear that the Tridon Mk2 is platform agnostic, therefore any vehicle which dimensions and payload are compatible with the gun system can be used to carry the new system. Considering vibrations however, some might need outriggers, which might be the case for the solution proposed on BAE Systems Hägglunds BVs10, although experts at that company underline that this has first to be tested. The programme manager however noted that the rate of fire, maximum one being 300 rounds per minute, can be tuned, software allowing to trim the rate, in order to cope with possible resonance issues.

The second element of the Tridon Mk2 is the Bofors 3P programmable all-target ammunition, which can be programmed in six different modes: gated proximity mode (air defence), gated proximity mode with impact priority (air defence, large targets), time mode (small fast, manoeuvring surface targets and concealed onshore targets), – impact mode (surface targets), armour piercing mode (armoured surface targets), and finally proximity mode, which is the default mode. Each round weighs 2.5 kg, 0.975 kg being of PBX explosive, and has a pre-fragmented shell.

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The fire control system installed on the prototype is the Hawkeye provided by Chess Dynamics UK, however other systems can be adopted depending on customers’ choice. During tests a Saab Giraffe 1X lightweight 3D radar was deployed alongside the Tridon Mk2 providing target acquisition.

The number of shots per target was not provided, although 5-10 rounds against a missile target might be an indication. The company is heavily relying on simulation, and to do so it developed the Grindstone, a model-based software used to simulate, analyse and assess the effectiveness of the systems. The system leverages from a previous software and was developed in the last two years, and is now promoting it as a product on the market.

BAE Systems Bofors is in advanced dialog with two potential international customers, beside Sweden. Some requirements might come up from each customer, such as that of an increased protection of the gun mount, which will of course increase the mass, and of the truck cabin, probably leading to . The company is already establishing the supply chain and considers a realistic lead time 15 months from the contract to delivery.

Photos courtesy BAE Systems