The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have recently completed a full evaluation of the multi-purpose rifle system (MPRS) developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI). Possible international customers are starting to visit Israel to test this new product at a growing pace.

“This system will completely change the way infantry soldiers engage targets and hit them” an IDF sources said. IMI has used the same technology found in fire control systems of advanced tanks like the Merkava MK4 to develop a sensor that makes any assault rifle a very diversified weapon system.

The basic limit of existing technology has been known for years – the standard M-203 rifle grenade launcher is not accurate and forces the soldier to carry a great number of grenades of different types to be able to address a variety of operational scenarios.

“We decided to change this and to transfer the assault rifle to a system that can launch one grenade that will be able to handle any combat situation and with very high accuracy” said Moshe Elert IMI’s chief of staff.

The MPRS is a personal fire control system that first measures the range to the target before completing a variety of other calculations. The correct red dot aiming point is displayed on the system’s eye piece in the right elevation necessary for an accurate shot, and then automatically sets the time delay fuse in the grenade to activate it just before impact at a preset altitude over the target. The fuse of the advanced 40 mm grenade can also be set to explode at a preset delay after an impact, for example to enable penetration of a relatively soft target such as a window.

Moshe Elert said that IMI is already planning an upgrade of the current version: “by adding a small transmitter the range of the target will be transmitted to other soldiers or commanders and become part of the network centric approach the IDF is adopting” Defence Review Asia was given the opportunity to test the MPRS at an IMI range. An inert grenade was put through a window target some 100 meters from the shooter without any problem.

The IDF is showing “very high” interest in the system for two main reasons – the low accuracy of the current M-203 and the need to carry a variety of grenades have made the launcher a burden rather than an asset. The recent wars fought by the IDF in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip highlight the need for a capability able to hit hidden targets that are sometimes in a building or “around the corner”. This must be done with minimum collateral damage: “All this under heavy combat pressure that effects the solder’s ability to use the simple rifle sights to aim and hit ” an IDF source pointed out.

The air burst ammunition is designed for assault rifles such as the IDF’s Tavor, as well as other similar weapons.

The IMI Air Burst Ammunition can be used in rifle grenades, a 40mm grenade for M203/AG-36 and other grenade launchers, as well as in non-lethal weapon systems.

As a result of test firing the system DRA concluded that it is very user friendly . A soldier selects the mode of action – air burst, time delay, point of detonation – based on the type of target, measures the range, feeds the data into the armament, aims precisely at the target and shoots.

The MPRS replaces existing sights. A controller on the clip allows the user to operate the system without having to interrupt the weapon’s operation. A communications unit handles the interface between the sight and the armament, allowing operational data to be transmitted. The recoil absorption mechanism is designed in order to support high-momentum firing to increase maximum range.

The system determines the delay time of the grenade and tests made by the IDF proved that the interval is very accurate and achieves the optimum result.
DRA were shown videos of recent tests and they confirm very precise detonation.

The MPRS adds 750 grams to the weight of the assault rifle but according to Elert it replaces the currently used “red dot” sight so that the real weight addition is “much smaller and we work to make it even smaller”. The MPRS is very rugged and according to IMI passed all kinds of “torture tests” that simulated the harshest operating conditions.

IMI is aware that many armies have large numbers of the basic rifle launched grenades, and offer them to use the MPRS with the old rounds to achieve greater accuracy. “The accuracy is dramatically improved ” Elert said.

Like many other ammunition types made by IMI, the air burst grenades are equipped with self destruction fuses that are aimed at eliminating the possible collateral damage caused by duds.

Any army that will use the IMI MPRS will determine the number of systems in a combat squad, but the basic number is two per squad “this is the basic configuration that will allow accurate grenade launching under all combat conditions ” and IDF source said.

The IDF will purchase the MPRS depending on the current budget constraints and it will be integrated with other systems that have been developed in recent years in Israel for use by combat infantry. This is based on the understanding that in recent times the combat individual did not always receive the technology to allow him perform his missions effectively. “Recent wars and the everyday operations of the IDF have proven above any doubt that the infantry soldier is still one of the most crucial elements in winning a war. To allow him do his role we have to equip him with the right tools and the MPRS is no question one of them ” the IDF source said.

While the local market is important, IMI hopes to sell the MPRS to foreign armies and officers from several interested countries are currently testing it either in the company’s ranges or in their own ranges around the world. “The close working relations between IMI and the IDF enable us to develop the best combat tools for the infantry soldier” says Avi Felder president of IMI.

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