Category Archives: Missiles & Guided Weapons

MMP from a Jaguar

On 14 April, MBDA and Nexter participated in the first lock-on firing of an MMP medium-range missile from a Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle (EBRC). The French defence procurement agency (DGA) carried out the firing at their Land Techniques Test Centre as part of the JAGUAR qualification. Launched from the retractable pod on the Jaguar’s turret in two-missile configuration, the MMP successfully hit its target.

MMP
First firing of MMP from a Jaguar armoured vehicle

 

The integration of MMP onto JAGUAR is being carried out in stages during qualification. This firing is the first stage, successfully demonstrating hitting a fixed target. The system will offer the capability to destroy fixed or mobile hardened land targets, including up to the latest generation of tanks. Targeting will be direct or beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS). It will also be precise and with minimal collateral damage, qualities that characterise the MMP.

MMP’s capabilities – integrated into the Jaguar’s turret by Nexter, alongside the remote controlled weapon station developed by Arquus, the Scorpion common vetronics solution developed by Thales and the 40mm cannon developed by CTAI – gives the Jaguar a key role in collaborative combat.

During this demonstration, the Optrolead PASEO battlefield surveillance sight interfaced with the missile system, offering real-time optronic acquisition by day and by night. This gives the Jaguar excellent long-range observation and identification capabilities.

Frédéric Michaud, Head of Battlefield Sector for Sales & Business Development at MBDA, said: «This firing marks an important first step of the work conducted with Nexter to develop the Jaguar turret and integrate the MMP into a weapon system built on the latest technological solutions. This two-missile turret configuration considerably expands the vehicle’s firepower».

David Marquette, Jaguar project manager at Nexter, hailed the exceptional work of the programme team on this critically important system integration project: «This marks a major milestone, demonstrating the technical skills of our teams in designing and developing an operational capability unlike any other in the world».

Flight Test Shots

The Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) joint program office completed the second live fire test of the new AIM‑120D-3 missile variant, incorporating upgraded hardware into the guidance section on May 12.

AIM‑120D-3
AMRAAM Completes Two Free Flight Test Shots

The weapon safely launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet and flew the expected flight path over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range in California. Preliminary analysis provided by the prime contractor, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, indicates all primary and secondary objectives of the shot were met.

«Completing the first two free flight shots of upgraded hardware and software is a significant milestone in the integration and test phase of the new AIM-120D-3 missile», said Colonel Sean Bradley, AMRAAM Senior Materiel Leader at the U.S. Air Force’s Armament Directorate. «These successes are important to the overall execution of the Form, Fit, Function Refresh (F3R) program; a program implemented to address an increasing number of production challenges due to obsolescence of various electronic components within the AIM-120».

Combined with software upgrades, AIM-120D-3 will deliver advanced capabilities to improve missile effectiveness against advanced threats for Air Force, Navy, and Allied Partners. This missile shot from an F/A-18F Super Hornet tested the missile’s safe separation autopilot and free-flight navigation capabilities.

Together, with the first shot on December 9, 2020, these shots represent a critical first in a series of developmental flight tests that provides crucial data to assess the missile’s ability to acquire, track and guide to targets.

AMRAAM is the world’s most sophisticated, combat-proven air dominance weapon. With AIM-120D-3 production deliveries beginning in 2023, the AIM-120 missile will continue to meet warfighter requirements in all weather and beyond visual range engagements. Its capabilities have been fully demonstrated in over 4,900 test shots and more than 13 air-to-air combat victories.

Anti-Radiation Missile

The U.S. Navy completed an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) captive carry flight on an F/A-18 Super Hornet April 22 at Patuxent River in support of the first live fire event this spring.

AARGM-ER
An F/A-18 Super Hornet flies with an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) during a captive carry flight test at Patuxent River Air Station in Maryland. The U.S. Navy is integrating AARGM-ER on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will be compatible for integration of the F-35 Lightning II (U.S. Navy photo)

This flight marked the first time the AARGM-ER weapon demonstrated it could communicate with the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The Separation Test Vehicle (STV) used its hardware and software to facilitate the controlled free flight.

«Data collected from this testing will support expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER to the full performance envelope of F/A-18 Super Hornet», said Captain Mitch Commerford, program manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242). «This flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER engineering and manufacturing development phase».

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate compatibility of the AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The test points completed during this flight test event substantiated F/A-18 Super Hornet carriage compatibility.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will be compatible for integration of the F-35 Lightning II. By leveraging the U.S. Navy’s AARGM program that’s in Full Rate Production, the AARGM-ER with a new rocket motor and warhead will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.

Ship Interdiction System

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, and the U.S. Marine Corps successfully demonstrated the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, or NMESIS, off the California coast. The inaugural test proved the system’s ability to fire a Naval Strike Missile, or NSM, from a U.S. Marine Corps ground launcher and score a direct hit against a surface target at sea.

NMESIS
Naval Strike Missile is a multi-mission cruise missile designed to destroy heavily defended maritime and land targets (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

NSM is a multi-mission cruise missile designed to destroy heavily defended maritime and land targets; it is the U.S. Navy’s over-the-horizon weapon system for littoral combat ships and future frigates.

«Our Naval Strike Missile is a vital weapon for denying enemies the use of key maritime terrain», said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «This test further demonstrates our partnership for advancing the Marine Corps’ modernization priorities of enabling sea control and denial operations».

The Marines will use NMESIS to support the U.S. Navy from the shore against enemy ships. NMESIS is comprised of the Raytheon Missiles & Defense-made NSM and a Remotely Operated Ground Unit for Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fires vehicle, produced by Oshkosh Defense.

NSM is the latest product from a partnership Raytheon Missiles & Defense has with Norway and its defense leader Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. The companies have teamed to bring more than half of NSM production to the U.S. The missile is already in service with Norway’s navy and Poland’s coastal defense squadrons.

$1 Billion Contract

Lockheed Martin received a $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. Army for Lot 16 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and associated equipment.

GMLRS
A Guided MLRS is fired from Lockheed Martin’s HIMARS launcher (Photo Courtesy: Lockheed Martin)

The contract calls for the production of more than 9,000 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead (AW) rockets, more than 2,000 Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and international customers.

Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; and Ocala, Florida, and will be completed by September 2023.

«GMLRS’s versatile rounds provide proven capability, unmatched accuracy and are engineered for future needs in support of Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO)», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «GMLRS remains in high demand because it’s the right round for multiple types of missions. Our focus remains on producing the combat-proven, cost-effective GMLRS to meet our customers’ needs».

Recently, Lockheed Martin delivered the 50,000th GMLRS to the U.S. Army customer – a milestone that represents the unmatched legacy of precision fires excellence that continues to evolve alongside the 21st Century Warfighter.

GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The munition is the primary round for the combat-proven Lockheed Martin produced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and MLRS family of launchers and features a Global Positioning System (GPS) aided inertial guidance package and small maneuvering canards on the rocket nose, which add maneuverability to enhance the accuracy of the system.

The GMLRS AW was developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets provide precision strike for point targets, exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. The Reduced-Range Practice Rocket allows users to train with realistic, full-motored rockets with limited flight range, making them ideal for smaller testing ranges.

Lockheed Martin is also developing the Extended Range (ER) GMLRS that will provide the same accuracy and reliability the munition is known for while significantly extending the range – reaching 150 kilometers/93 miles.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

Next Generation
Interceptor

The Department of Defense has awarded two contracts to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. in support of the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program. With an estimated maximum value of $1.6 billion through fiscal year 2022, this contract award is structured to carry two designs into the technology development and risk reduction phase of the acquisition program to reduce technical and schedule risk. This award will ensure NGI is an efficient and effective part of an integrated Missile Defense System (MDS) solution.

Next Generation Interceptor
The MDA down selects Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. teams to deliver Next Generation Interceptor

The Missile Defense Agency awards on March 23, 2021 support the department’s goal of increased competition by funding two designs while remaining flexible to align with evolving Defense Department strategies and priorities.

«Today’s awards are an important step in modernizing our Missile Defense System», said Stacy Cummings, performing the duties of Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. «NGI plays an important role in our homeland defense, and our acquisition strategy is ensuring the department maximizes innovation to keep pace with rapidly advancing threats».

As the ground-based midcourse missile defense system, NGI is an advanced interceptor designed to protect the nation against intercontinental ballistic missile attack. The department will uphold «fly before you buy» principles to ensure the overall system and components have been rigorously flight-tested prior to making any procurement decisions.

«NGI is the result of the first holistic technical assessment of homeland defenses the department has conducted since initial system operations began in 2004», added Vice Admiral Jon Hill, Director, Missile Defense Agency. «By planning to carry two vendors through technology development, MDA will maximize the benefits of competition to deliver the most effective and reliable homeland defense missile to the warfighter as soon as possible. Once fielded, this new homeland defense interceptor will be capable of defeating expected threat advances into the 2030s and beyond».

Teseo Evolved

MBDA will provide the Italian Navy with the new Teseo Evolved Weapon System, namely Teseo Mk2/E. This new generation system builds on the legacy Teseo family, known worldwide as OTOMAT, and will bring a substantial improvement in anti-ship capabilities. Teseo Mk2/E will efficiently engage both sea and land targets at very long range, with full mission control throughout the missile flight. The system will have an innovative integrated mission planning and a new RF seeker, with options for additional features and capabilities in the future.

Teseo Mk2/E
MBDA to supply new Teseo Mk2/E anti-ship system to Italian Navy

Teseo Mk2/E is the answer to evolving threats that generate the need to evolve operational requirements. This solution is the result of joint MBDA and Italian Navy technical and programme activities over the past three years that matured the concept of this advanced system.

The Teseo Mk2/E missile system will equip the next generation destroyer (DDX) and could replace the previous Mk2/A version onboard FREMM and Horizon class frigates. The new multi-purpose Offshore Patrol Vessels (PPA – Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura), currently in production, are already fit for Teseo Mk2/E installation in future. In the anti-ship weapon market Teseo Mk2/E will represent a new standard with its very high performance, and will be ready to be tailored for international requirements.

Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, declared: «I want here to give a special thanks to Italian Navy, governmental and all MBDA teams who worked hard, also against all disruptions created by the pandemic, to bring this important contract to life. MBDA Group considers Teseo Mk2/E as a major programme and will be fully committed to the successful outcome of this new development. The new Teseo Mk2/E builds on a product line that is well recognised around the world and will support long into the future, the attractiveness of our naval products on export markets».

Lorenzo Mariani, Executive Group Director Sales and Business Development and Managing Director MBDA Italia, declared: «The Teseo Mk2/E has been defined and designed thanks to an intense collaboration between the Italian Navy and MBDA. This new anti-ship missile will mark a step change in the OTOMAT/Teseo family, keep up with ever evolving threats and feature advanced functions to support the Italian Navy operations that will significantly increase the flexibility and operational value of the Italian Navy surface ships that will be equipped with it. This contract will also help sustain high level skills in a domain of excellence of the Italian defence industry and will contribute to guarantee the sustainability of our company and its suppliers, as well as its Italian employment levels in the years to come».

Albatros NG

MBDA has been awarded a first contract for Albatros Next Generation (NG), a brand new Common Anti-Air Modular Missile Extended Range (CAMM-ER) based air defence system. This first order, from an undisclosed international customer, marks a further validation of the wide appeal of the CAMM air defence family on the global marketplace and paves the way to further acquisitions by the same customer and other Navies.

Albatros NG
MBDA awarded first contract for its new Albatros NG system

Albatros NG is a new generation Naval Based Air Defence (NBAD) system, based on the CAMM-ER, which is the extended range variant of the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family already delivered to customers around the world for both ground based and naval air defence.

Under the terms of this recent order, Albatros NG will be in service in 2024.

Albatros NG, deriving its name from the legacy Albatros systems which have been in service with the Italian Navy and several export customers for years, is suitable for different kinds of vessels providing air defence capability for platforms ranging from patrol vessels and corvettes to destroyers. It also allows a complementary layer for larger vessels such as frigates and destroyers already equipped with a long range air defence system. It can be easily integrated, without significant changes, in the ships’ design; its Command & Control (C2) is designed to enable flexible integration with both new and existing naval Combat Management Systems (CMS).

The CAMM-ER missile is capable of providing self and local area defence against the evolving airborne threat at ranges exceeding 40 km/25 miles; it will be integrated in the new ground based air defence systems for the Italian Army and Italian Air Force. CAMM family systems have already been delivered to the British Army, to the Royal Navy and to several export nations.

Air defence systems utilising the CAMM and CAMM-ER missiles can provide armed forces with advanced protection against the ever-evolving air threat, including manned and unmanned aircraft, precision guided munitions, terrain-following/sea-skimming missiles, and low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets; all in the presence of the latest countermeasures.

Extended-Range GMLRS

Lockheed Martin successfully tested its next-generation Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS) munition in an 80-kilometer/50-mile flight demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. During the flight test, the ER GMLRS round was fired from the U.S. Army’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher, built by Lockheed Martin, meeting test objectives.

ER GMLRS
Mission Success: Lockheed Martin’s Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Soars in Flight Test

«Our new Extended-Range GMLRS significantly increases the range of the current system, offering the choice of munitions for longer distances and improving options with the same reliability and accuracy our customers have come to expect», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «Our team is dedicated to conducting extensive developmental testing as part of our discipline to assure mission success for the U.S. Army with more flexibility for multi-domain operations».

The demonstration confirmed the missile’s flight trajectory performance, range and validated interfaces with the HIMARS launcher and system software performance.

Lockheed Martin has produced more than 50,000 GMLRS rounds and is under contract to produce more than 9,000 new GMLRS unitary and alternative-warhead rockets, more than 1,800 low-cost reduced-range practice rockets and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army and international customers. The systems are produced at its Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, Arkansas.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

MICA New Generation

MBDA has been awarded a contract from the Egyptian Navy for the VL MICA NG (Missile d’Interception, de Combat et d’Auto-défense New Generation) air defence system to equip its Egyptian corvettes.

VL MICA NG
Egypt becomes the first international customer for MBDA’s VL MICA New Generation surface-to-air system

Officially launched in October 2020, the VL MICA NG system is based on the integration of the MICA NG missile into the existing VL MICA point and close area air defence system.

The VL MICA NG system offers improved capabilities to handle atypical targets (UAVs, small aircraft), as well as future threats characterised by increasingly low observable infrared and radio frequency signatures. Additionally, VL MICA NG will be able to intercept ‘conventional’ targets (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles) at longer distances.

Eric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: «This agreement proves the confidence of our Egyptian customer in our VL MICA family, which 15 armed forces around the world already use for the protection of their naval and land forces».

The Egyptian Navy already equips its four Gowind class corvettes, recently procured from the French Naval Group shipyards, with systems from the VL MICA family.