Capacity to fire beyond direct sight: Thales opens a new era for its 68mm laser-guided rockets

26 March 2024, Meudon, France – Thanks to the work of the DGA-funded Defense Technology Project “Study of a Direct Fire and Beyond Line of Sight firing capability for the 68mm rocket integrated on a land carrier”, Thales has tested a new Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) firing capability with its 68mm induction laser-guided rockets (RGL).

To fire, the soldier uses the target’s coordinates in an initial phase before the laser guidance takes over mid-course.

This new means of targeting on coordinates will enable the integration of induction rockets on new carriers.

Thales is proud to have reached a new milestone by validating the test phases for rocket firing at target coordinates. This technology, implemented during a ground-to-ground demonstration, will be a considerable asset for the forces.

For the first time, an over-the-horizon firing technology has been developed and tested in real-life situations on 68mm rockets. Thales’s innovation resides in a terminal laser guidance system, enabling this ammunition to be used with greater precision in two phases: initiated on the coordinates transmitted by the forward observer, the target is then reached thanks to the laser designation. In flight, the rocket’s movements and trajectory are known at all times thanks to an on-board inertial unit. This new algorithm extends the reachable aera of a rocket while preserving its metric accuracy on impact.

Thanks to this new technology, the reachable area of a rocket has been multiplied by 100, from less than 1km² to several tens of km², providing a considerable tactical and strategic advantage at any time and in any environment, while limiting the exposure of forces to the enemy.

This milestone paves the way for the integration of RGLs on new land and airborne platforms, and for new employment prospects.

In addition to their new guidance capabilities, RGLs feature an induction system enabling rapid loading, high levels of reliability and, in particular, ejecta-free, low-maintenance applications.

Among other things, the system provides the rocket with the information it needs to fire successfully, before separation.

“The success of these tests demonstrates Thales’ ability to provide armed forces with all the tactical and strategic advantage they need. Based on the laser-guided rocket developed by Thales, this ability to fire beyond direct sight will enable forces to gain in safety while enhancing maneuverability”, Eric Normant, Vice President, Tactical Vehicles and Systems, Thales.

Photo courtesy DGA