How surprised were we when, strolling among the alleys of the LAAD fair organised last week in Rio de Janeiro, we came across a rather singular and certainly unique system of its kind: the Armadillo TA- 2 multiple retractable rocket launcher. And the surprise was double, because behind Mac Jee, the Brazilian company that launched the project, is actually hidden a team of French engineers led by Simon Jeannot.
Over the past decade, Mac Jee has specialised in the distribution of electronic parts, such as connectors and cables, as well as cameras, edge computers and other military-type monitors. “A winning strategy,” explains Jeannot, “because it allowed us to put enough money aside to develop our own systems.”
Hence the appearance of the Armadillo whose primary objective is to provide light fire support and, above all, discretion. This innovative concept consists of a semi-automatic retractable platform coupled with software also designed by Mac Jee. Deployable in less than a minute, the platform is stowed inside the vehicle under a shielding plate which conceals and protects the entire system.
Because it has no impact on the capacities of the vehicle on which it is installed, “the Armadillo has a wide range of applications ranging from fire support to conventional surveillance missions and even special operations,” says Jeannot. The Armadillo TA-2, shown here on a model GAS Tigr-M Russian vehicle, is actually mountable on any type of existing light armoured vehicle.
The system exposed at LAAD, equipped with three modules of 16 70mm rockets, will be extended to guided rockets as well as to higher gauges, such as 122mm. But the Brazilian company is also considering the integration of non-lethal systems, such as an optronic balls, a support for mini-drones, or a radar antenna.
It only remains for Mac Jee engineers to refine certain details, including the software part, before starting the testing phase “by the end of 2017,” says Jeannot.