Self-protection for armoured vehicles

Ever since the first armoured vehicles appeared on the battlefield, there have been efforts to defeat and defend them. Protection versus penetration continues apace in the present day. This is especially true when we look at anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), which have been in use for decades with a devastating effect and can provide a decisive advantage during conflicts.

In recent conflicts, such ATGMs have once again proven to be a key factor in the destruction of armoured capability and denying freedom of movement to achieve key tactical objectives. Furthermore, ATGMs are finding their way into the hands of terrorists and non-state players, which can blunt the capabilities of conventional forces. There is a need for self-protection.


  • MUSS sensor head
  • Anti-tank guided missile warning sensor
  • Laser warning sensor
  • MUSS central electronics
  • MUSS countermeasure IR jammer
  • MUSS smoke electronics
  • Adjustable smoke dispenser
  • MUSS pyrotechnic ammunition


The multi-functional self-protection system MUSS is designed to counter threats posed by ATGMs and laser-guided ammunition. Over the past eight years, more than 350 MUSS systems have been delivered for the first batch of the PUMA IFV. This currently makes MUSS the only active softkill-based protection system for ground vehicles in operational use that has been delivered in series worldwide.

HENSOLDT is now expanding the performance of the MUSS system to detect and ward off current and newly emerging threats. With MUSS 2.0, HENSOLDT delivers a NextGen APS with a layered protection system solution for medium-weight armoured vehicles, self-propelled artillery vehicles, IFVs and MBTs.

MUSS 2.0 key enhancements

  • Enhanced protection through Laser-based jamming
  • Enhanced laser warning against laser-guided weapons through obscuration
  • Enhanced laser detection capability against low energy laser threats
  • Improved missile detection capability
  • Detection of further threats, including RPG, tracer ammunitions, muzzle flash and kinetic energy ammunition
  • Wake-up sensor for other subsystems
  • Multi-threat capability and priorisation
  • Lower SWaP
  • MCE performance increase for interaction and connectivity between onboard systems
  • NATO-standard Ethernet interface for NGVA compliance, STANAG 4754

Main Benefits

HENSOLDT’s multi-functional self-protection system MUSS has successfully provided protection to frontline armoured vehicle crews for a decade and remains the only mature and proven fully automated soft-kill system available on the market. Nonetheless, HENSOLDT is not standing still and is instead advancing with upgrades that will see MUSS optimised even further.

The traditional answer to the ATGM threat has been to add steel armour, spaced armour, novel armour and explosive reactive armour (ERA) to the platform. However, additional weight may well affect the platform’s agility and ability to move across rough terrain. Other trade-offs potentially impact how many rounds can be carried and the size of the main armament, namely firepower.

In all operational concepts, MUSS offers the advantage of defeating the threat far from the platform, minimising collateral damage. The 360° surveillance up to a range of several kilometres is strictly based on passive sensing instead of relying on active radar sensors, thus keeping the platform signature to an absolute minimum. Providing the highest level of protection, the MUSS key components have a total weight of less than 60 kg, making them suitable for a wide range of vehicles, from unarmoured vehicles to tracked main battle tanks. In concept or as an applied fit, a fully integrated MUSS 2.0 offers significant advantages over hardkill-based APS, which are often subject to platform and operational restrictions.

MUSS components

  • Sensor heads
    • The MUSS warning system is based on four sensor heads (passive sensors).
    • It includes a missile-and-laser warning sensor in single housing.
    • Data are transmitted to MUSS central electronics for final processing.
  • Laser warning sensor
    • The system includes a special integrated detector element with high sensitivity and angle resolution in both azimuth and elevation.
    • It detects laser beam rider (LBR), laser target designator (LTD), laser range finder (LRF) and laser-guided weapon systems.
    • It also offers early detection of tactical laser range finders.
  • Missile warning sensor
    • The sensor detects hostile missiles and munitions upon launch and during flight.
    • It operates in the solar-blind part of the UV spectrum and continuously observes the surrounding area.
    • Its detection range extends from nearfield to several kilometres.
    • The sensor pre-processes the missile signature generated by UV missile plume irradiance and transmits it to the MUSS central electronics for further processing.
  • Smoke dispenser & pyrotechnic ammunition
    • Smoke is safely dispersed with a safety distance of more than 20 metres from the platform.
    • The adjustable smoke dispenser is aligned to the direction of the threat by smoke electronics.
    • For tactical reasons, the deployment of smoke can be activated manually by the crew.
    • The system is optimised for the fast generation of a smoke screen that is effective up to the IR spectral range in terms of visibility, disturbing IR-guided or seeker-head-based missiles.
  • Countermeasure IR jammer
    • The jammer is effective against the majority of wire-guided optically tracked missiles currently in service in actual conflict theatres.
    • It tricks the missile launcher by inducing the wrong missile location to the firing position.
    • It provides 360° azimuth coverage and an enhanced elevation angle, enabling engagement against both ground and air-launched weapons.
    • Following the detection and classification of missile type, the jammer is automatically optimised to provide maximum effectiveness as a countermeasure.
  • Central electronics
    • The central electronics form a link between sensor heads.
    • They receive all transferred data and control the final processing of the missile warner.
    • They also control and activate the IR jammer and initiate the adjustable smoke screen dispenser.
    • The system provides Ethernet, CAN Bus and RS422 interfaces for platform connectivity architectures such as MIPS and MAP.

MUSS on screen






MUSS brochure