Germany has completed what it claims to be the world’s first trial of a smoke screen launched from a military helicopter.
According to the country’s defense procurement agency, the Bundeswehr Technical and Airworthiness Center for Aircraft demonstrated the capability of the H145M light utility helicopter to adapt the Rapid Obscuring System (ROSY).
The ROSY has been tested and integrated into military ground vehicles since 2021, but it reportedly reacts “sluggishly” when launched, taking several seconds between the ignition and the actual buildup of the smoke.
The defense ministry notes that a few seconds could make the difference between life and death in battlefield scenarios.
Integrating the system into a helicopter allows the smoke screen to build up in the air shortly after ejection.
Additionally, the ROSY installed on the H145M light utility helicopter has a larger charge and longer burn time, allowing it to produce a cloud of smoke for an extended period.
According to Rheinmetall, the ROSY is a new smoke screen system capable of protecting soldiers against all line-of-sight weapons, including small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
Unlike conventional smoke protection systems, the ROSY generates dynamic smoke screens and instantaneous, multispectral interruption of the line of sight, providing sustained protection for both moving and stationary objects.
The system utilizes infrared jamming and decoying capabilities to counter weapons with optical devices and laser distance measurement.
In addition, the ROSY has a multi-mission capability that offers improved defense against stream and wave attacks.
Rheinmetall delivered 150 ROSY system kits to the German military in 2021, with an additional 390 to be handed over by the end of October 2022.
Germany has equipped nearly all its combat vehicles with smoke systems to allow troops to hide from the enemy’s view during combat operations.