Tag Archives: MBDA

Land Ceptor Unveiled

MBDA’s Land Ceptor air defence system is making its show debut in the outside vehicle park at DSEI 2017 in London from 12-15 September.

Land Ceptor at DSEI 2017
Land Ceptor at DSEI 2017

Land Ceptor utilises the next-generation Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) and is will be brought into service by the British Army as a replacement for the Rapier air defence system. Compared to Rapier, Land Ceptor has over triple the range (25+ km/15.5+ miles) and is able to intercept the most challenging targets in any weather conditions, including cruise missiles and precision guided munitions.

In total six nations have already chosen the CAMM family to provide their future air defence capabilities in both the maritime and land domains. In Royal Navy service the system is known as Sea Ceptor – which is also making its debut at DSEI 2017 off the back of successful first-of-class firings from the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll (F231). By purchasing the same missile to meet the air defence needs of both the British Army and the Royal Navy, development costs are significantly reduced and both services are able to utilise a common stockpile that will significantly reduce procurement and support costs.

The Land Ceptor asset present at DSEI, which has been undertaking qualification trials for the British Army, features a substantially revised design to initial development prototypes and incorporates numerous new features. The decision to utilise the in-service HX-77 as the base vehicle for Land Ceptor enables the capabilities of the system to be expanded, whilst minimising the overall fleet size.

A key new feature of the new design is its modular launcher. It features a palletised loading module enabling rapid reload of a full ‘magazine’ of munitions, and a self-mounting/dismounting capability allowing for a wider range of air/sea/rail transport options and for dismounted operations in fixed/semi-fixed locations. A common interface module means the launcher can be easily integrated onto a wide range of vehicles.

The increased payload space provides greater flexibility in mission equipments carried, including – power generation, fire control electronics, on-board Command and Control (C2), missile datalink, radio communications and optional Electro-Optical/InfraRed (EO/IR) sensor modules all available for installation. These systems provide flexibility for the launcher to act as an independent fire unit, as well as in a networked battery configuration. This increased payload could also be used to carry the extended range CAMM-ER interceptor, providing air defence out to 40+ km/24.8+ miles for those customers that require greater range.

Land Ceptor is the launch configuration of the Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS) stable. EMADS brings together best-of-breed systems and technologies from across MBDA’s European base to save time, development costs and provide a flexible system for air defence provision.

EMADS features a family of system components, including the common launcher developed for Land Ceptor. Also included are a flexible command and control system capable of being

New laser weapon

The new laser weapon demonstrator being built for the UK Ministry of Defence has been unveiled for the first time by the UK Dragonfire consortium at DSEI 2017 in London.

Dragonfire at DSEI 2017
Dragonfire at DSEI 2017

Led by MBDA, under contract to Dstl, UK Dragonfire is a grouping of the best of British industry brought together to develop this advanced and complex new programme for the UK Armed Forces.

For the first time, the consortium has revealed the design of the turret – known as a beam director – that will be used to trial this new technology. The beam director, which will be provided by Leonardo, brings together QinetiQ’s powerful laser emitter, as well as world-class electro-optics for target identification and tracking. MBDA is bringing prime weapon system delivery experience and advanced weapon system Command and Control (C2) and image processing capability to UK Dragonfire, in addition to coordinating the overall effort.

The full-scale beam director is present at UK Dragonfire’s stand, at ND4 in the Naval Static Display Area. Half-scale models are also present on the stands of Leonardo, MBDA and QinetiQ.

Known as the Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) Capability Demonstrator Programme (CDP), the effort will see UK Dragonfire trial this new sovereign capability in the maritime and land domains in 2019.

Among the uses of LDEW systems are providing very short-range air defence capability, close-in protection for naval vessels, counter-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and protecting friendly forces from mortar and artillery attack.

A key benefit of the Dragonfire LDEW technology is that the base system is highly adaptable and its effects are highly scalable. As such it offers a range of different engagement solutions depending on the tactical scenario, these include tracking, deterring, dazzling the sensors of a potential threat, up to damaging or destroying it.

UK Dragonfire was awarded a GBP30 million contract for the LDW CDP in early 2017 after a rigorous competitive evaluation. The team capitalises on the strengths of all the companies involved, including Leonardo, QinetiQ, MBDA, Arke, BAE Systems, Marshall and GKN.

First-of-class

HMS Argyll (F231) has successfully conducted the first firings of the Sea Ceptor system, a major milestone for the Royal Navy as it brings its upgraded Type 23 frigates back into service.

Sea Ceptor firing from the HMS Argyll
Sea Ceptor firing from the HMS Argyll

The Sea Ceptor system, which utilises MBDA’s next-generation Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM), is being fitted to replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on the Type 23 frigates as part of their life-extension programme. Sea Ceptor will provide improved protection for the Royal Navy against anti-ship cruise missiles, aircraft and other highly sophisticated threats.

HMS Argyll (F231) is the first Type 23 to undergo the life-extension programme, and will conduct further firing trials of the Sea Ceptor system before returning to frontline service. Sea Ceptor not only provides a robust self-defence capability for the host vessel but importantly also a local area air defence competency to defend consort vessels within a maritime task group.

Designed and manufactured by MBDA in the UK, Sea Ceptor will also protect the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 Frigates, and as Land Ceptor will replace Rapier in British Army service. The missile uses innovative technologies that provide significant improvements in performance compared with previous generations of missiles.

Compared to Sea Wolf, CAMM is faster, has longer range, has a two-way data link, and has a much more advanced seeker, all of which enable the missile to intercept more challenging targets.

Dave Armstrong, Executive Group Director Sales and Business Development and Managing Director UK at MBDA, said: «Sea Ceptor is the most modern air defence system of its type in the world, and will provide a step-change in capability to the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. These first firings are testament to the hard work of the talented team of people working on the programme across MBDA, the Royal Navy, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), BAE Systems and QinetiQ. CAMM is a perfect demonstration of the benefits of the portfolio-approach to complex weapons between MBDA and the UK MoD, simultaneously delivering world-beating technology to our Armed Forces and significant cost benefits to the UK taxpayer».

Traditional air defence systems utilise semi-active radar guidance, meaning they rely on a surface-based fire control radar to illuminate the missile’s target. By using an active radar seeker and datalink on the missile CAMM does not require the dedicated fire control radar on which a semi-active system depends. This not only removes cost and weight from the vessel, it makes integration simpler and means that Sea Ceptor can intercept more targets simultaneously, and across 360 degrees – something a semi-active system cannot.

The missile’s clean aerodynamic design provides it with improved performance in the air, while also making it highly compact for installation onboard ship. Moreover, Sea Ceptor uses an innovative soft vertical launch system that significantly reduces the impact of a traditional «hot launch» missile on both the ship and the crew.

Besides the Royal Navy and the British Army, CAMM is also the modern air defence weapon of choice for a further four nations’ armed services.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 218.3 lbs/99 kg
Length 10.5 feet/3.2 m
Diameter 6.5 inches/166 mm
Range In excess of 15.5 miles/25 km
Speed Supersonic

 

Live firing

The first live firing of MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-surface missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon has been successfully completed as part of ongoing development work to significantly upgrade the capability of the aircraft. The trial is part of work to integrate the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades.

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft enhancements move forward with successful live firing of Brimstone missile
Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft enhancements move forward with successful live firing of Brimstone missile

The P3E package forms part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force.

The UK’s IPA (Instrumented Production Aircraft) 6 Typhoon conducted the firing with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo. It was designed to test the separation of the low-collateral, high-precision Brimstone weapon when it is released. In total, nine firings will take place to expand the launch and range capabilities.

The initial firing follows completion of a series of around 40 flight trials earlier this year, some of them conducted alongside pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – in a Combined Test Team approach.

Volker Paltzo, CEO for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: «The successful completion of this trial is an important step towards integration of the weapon on to the aircraft. Brimstone will provide the Typhoon pilot with the ability to precisely attack fast-moving targets at range, further enhancing the aircraft’s already highly potent air-to-surface capabilities».

Andy Flynn, BAE Systems Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, added: «Through the dedicated work of our teams, and with support from our partners, we have been able to reach this milestone in a short space of time. We will now continue to work alongside the Royal Air Force and our partner companies in a joint approach to ensure we successfully deliver this package of enhancements into service».

Andy Bradford, MBDA Director of Typhoon Integration, said: «This first firing is a major milestone for both the Brimstone and Typhoon programmes. Together Brimstone and Typhoon will provide the Royal Air Force and other Eurofighter nations with a world-beating strike capability to beyond 2040».

The successful trial follows completion earlier this year of the flight trials programme for the MBDA Storm Shadow deep strike air-to-surface weapon and the MBDA Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air missile. Operational testing and evaluation of those capabilities is currently ongoing with the Royal Air Force ahead of entry into service in 2018.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 50 kg/110.2 lbs
Length 1.8 m/5.9 feet
Diameter 180 mm/7 inches
Guidance Millimetric Wave Radar and Semi-Active Laser
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge

 

SmartGlider family

MBDA presents the new SmartGlider family of guided weapons, optimised to counter anti-access strategies and other emerging battlespace threats. Planned to become available for fast jets no later than 2025, SmartGlider forms a family of all-up-round glider weapons, with folding wings and a range of over 62 miles/100 km. This new generation of air-to-ground weapons is designed to counter new networked short- and medium-range surface-to-air threats, as well as moving/relocatable targets or hardened fixed targets.

SmartGlider family of guided weapons
SmartGlider family of guided weapons

The compact family member, SmartGlider Light, is 6.56 feet/2 meters long and weighs 264.5 lbs/120 kg. 12 to 18 SmartGlider Lights can be carried on an aircraft thanks to a Hexabomb Smart Launcher (HSL) capable of managing reactive strikes without affecting the pilot’s workload. As such, the SmartGlider Light will allow first-day-entry by saturating and destroying enemy air defences.

For general purpose missions, the SmartGlider Light can be engaged against a wide spectrum of targets, from hardened and defended fixed targets such as hangars, to relocatable targets that can only be destroyed from a standoff distance with significant lethal effects.

Last, MBDA also prepares a 2,866 lbs/1,300 kg SmartGlider Heavy able to carry a multipurpose warhead of more than 2,204.6 lbs/1,000 kg to deal with large and hardened infrastructure.

«The SmartGlider family considerably reinforces the air-to-ground capabilities of the combat platform, sitting between the bombs equipped with guidance kits and cruise missiles», explains François Moussez, MBDA Military Advisor. «Designed for use in high volumes in order to saturate air defences, SmartGliders are gliders that, thanks to a high lift-to-drag ratio and their integrated guidance and navigation, will feature a range of over 62 miles/100 km allowing the combat platform to stay at safe distance from the enemy defences».

Lionel Mazenq, Business Development Manager France, adds: «Our SmartGliders will integrate new technologies in their guidance and navigation functions, as well as multipurpose warheads. Thus, they will be able to reach and destroy the best defended targets, notably enemy air defences, thanks to a mix of optronics and radio frequency sensors that makes them robust against anti-access measures».

«Throughout thirty years of work on the SCALP/Storm Shadow and now on future deep strike, MBDA has gained an in-depth understanding of penetrative missions in hostile territory», states Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA. «We have therefore been able to optimise the costs of the aircraft and missile combination and succeeded in designing a truly efficient weapon for use in high volumes that perfectly complements the SCALP/Storm Shadow and its future follow-on FC/ASW that we are developing through Anglo-French cooperation».

F-35 Fires ASRAAM

The F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet has successfully conducted its first firing trials of the MBDA Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM).

F-35 successfully conducts first firings of MBDA’s ASRAAM
F-35 successfully conducts first firings of MBDA’s ASRAAM

The trials are the first time a British-designed missile has been fired from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the first time any non-US missile has been fired from the aircraft.

Conducted from both Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base in the USA, the effort has seen both flight trials and air-launched firings of the ASRAAM successfully take place.

MBDA is currently under contract, awarded in 2016, to produce the highly capable infra-red (IR) guided air-to-air missile for the UK’s F-35s. ASRAAM’s large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design gives it a high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance compared with other countries’ in-service IR missiles.

The trials were conducted by the integrated test teams at Patuxent and Edwards, which include Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, MBDA and Northrop Grumman.

The development trials work is being conducted under the integration programme for ASRAAM onto the UK’s F-35 aircraft. This effort is currently progressing to plan and these integration activities will allow the Initial Operating Capability of the aircraft by the UK.

MBDA is also under contract for the ASRAAM Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) to build replenishment missiles for the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The CSP effort makes use of ASRAAM’s commonality with the CAMM missile family, also being bought by the Royal Navy and British Army, to deliver extensive cost savings across the UK Armed Forces.

SIHAM3 Unveiled at IDEX

At IDEX 2017, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) company Siham Al Khaleej Technology (SAKT), together with Leonardo and MBDA are presenting an innovative and cost-effective weapon system designated «SIHAM3», providing a comprehensive and stand-alone anti-air and anti-surface capability to all types of warships.

SIHAM3: a comprehensive Air & Surface Self-Defence Capability
SIHAM3: a comprehensive Air & Surface Self-Defence Capability

This industrial cooperation will be officially announced during IDEX 2017 and a mock-up of the system will be displayed at the SAKT booth, B-0004, at NAVDEX.

In particular, SAKT will be responsible for integration of the «SIHAM3» weapon system, which combines two Leonardo products: the OTO Marlin WS 30-mm Naval Gun and the Medusa MK4/B Electro-Optical Fire Control System (EO-FCS) providing a stand-alone capability to detect and track with high accuracy either air or surface targets. The system is completed with an MBDA Twin Air Defence Mistral missile launcher on a single mounting.

This new system will be fully controlled by a single operator and will allow for a significant reduction in the ship’s installation requirement thanks to a single mounted system.

A further evolution of the SIHAM3will allow integration with a Combat Management System (CMS).

This «Made in the UAE» system will be developed, produced, assembled and integrated by the three parties together.

Brimstone for RPAS

MBDA’s Brimstone precision strike missile is being planned as the UK’s guided missile solution for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) programme. If confirmed, the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Certifiable Predator B will enter service with the British weapon.

MBDA’s Brimstone missile planned for RAF’S Protector RPAS
MBDA’s Brimstone missile planned for RAF’S Protector RPAS

The integration plan is included as part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Main Gate selection of the aircraft and, if agreed, the missile will be integrated and fielded in line with the Platform’s introduction to service.

MBDA will now work together with UK MoD, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and GA-ASI towards a programme which would see the missile undergo integration onto the Air System with trials and firings towards the end of the decade. The missile has already successfully completed a series of trial firings on MQ-9 Reaper during early 2014 that saw the weapon engaging 70 mph/113 km/h and maneuvering targets with extreme precision from the RPAS; unmatched by any other weapon since.

The missile promises to arm Protector with the ability to strike fast moving, maneuvering targets with both man in the loop post launch guidance and also autonomous post launch all weather capabilities. This confirms that the missile is a true multiplatform weapon that can operate across fast jets, RPAS and, most recently, helicopters. A number of further enhanced capabilities are planned to be developed and incorporated into the solutions for Protector, AH-64E and Typhoon, demonstrating MBDA’s commitment to spirally evolve the weapon to meet changing customer needs and adapting to new threats.

The UK Sales & Business Development Director, James Allibone, highlighted the significance of the news saying, «Brimstone offers customers the ability to have one missile that can operate across their fleet of operational aircraft, whether they are jets, RPAS or helicopters. One missile for all platforms means customers benefit from simplified and more efficient training, logistics and inventory management as well as Brimstone’s outstanding precision against the most challenging of targets».

 

Missile Characteristics

Weight 110 lbs/50 kg
Length 5.9 feet/1.8 m
Diameter 7 inches/180 mm
Guidance Millimetric Wave Radar and Semi-Active Laser
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge

 

Enforcer development

MBDA has successfully tested the lightweight missile, known as Enforcer, as part of its ongoing development programme. The multinational Enforcer team scored several highly accurate hits during guided firings carried out at the trials facility of the German Bundeswehr’s Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition 91 in November 2016.

MBDA is positioning Enforcer (KFK) as a complimentary multipurpose munition to existing shoulder-fired infantry weapon systems
MBDA is positioning Enforcer (KFK) as a complimentary multipurpose munition to existing shoulder-fired infantry weapon systems

The firings with the Enforcer development prototype were conducted at ranges of between 3,281 feet/1,000 m to 6,562 feet/2,000 m and confirmed expectations with regard to the weapon’s homing head, which guided the missile directly to the center of each of the intended targets. One of the missiles used the new lightweight, carbon-fiber launching tube developed by MBDA in Italy.

«These tests have topped off a successful year of Enforcer development, a year we can look back on and recognise numerous successful firings and other tests», said Peter Heilmeier, MBDA Deutschland’s Vice President Sales and Business Development. «The direct hits demonstrate that we have made an important step forward in the development programme».

MBDA plans to begin qualification of this very compact missile over the next few years, followed by preparations for series production. One of the areas MBDA is currently working on is the Bundeswehr’s night fighting capability requirement. In this respect, more guided firings are planned for 2017.

It enables dismounted infantry to engage lightly protected battlefield/urban targets at relevant combat ranges, with high precision and minimal exposure to the operator
It enables dismounted infantry to engage lightly protected battlefield/urban targets at relevant combat ranges, with high precision and minimal exposure to the operator

The Enforcer concept is a new lightweight, disposable shoulder-launched guided munition in the 2-km class. Modular design offers prospect of a future family of Enforcer munitions.

Key features of Enforcer at a glance:

  • Fire-and-forget missile system;
  • Range up to 6,562 feet/2,000 m;
  • High precision over full range;
  • Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL);
  • Capability against lightly armored and soft skinned targets;
  • Effect against targets behind cover through airburst capability;
  • Multi-effects warhead;
  • Enclosed space firing capability;
  • Lightweight (missile + launch tube < 20 lbs/9kg);
  • Day and night operation;
  • System weight (sight and two munitions) < 44 lbs/20kg;
  • Missile weight < 15.4 lbs/7kg;
  • Modular architecture.
Enforcer provides major advantages for infantry and special forces bringing valued benefits
Enforcer provides major advantages for infantry and special forces bringing valued benefits

First launch of Aster

On November 22, at the Salto di Quirra joint armed forces test range, the Italian Navy has successfully conducted from Italian FREMM frigate Carlo Bergamini (F590) the first live firing of an Aster 30 missile with a telemetry head, as part of the qualification programme for the surface-to-air extended self defence system (SAAM ESD, Surface to Air Anti Missile System Extended Self Defence).

Aster 30 missile
Aster 30 missile

With the SAAM ESD system, the firing ship is able to both protect itself (self-defence) and other consort ships.

The firing was completed in full accordance with the established plan. All the launch phases were accomplished according to expectations. The successful firing confirms the excellent team work established and developed in perfect synergy between the Italian Navy and the industry.

This test is one of the most relevant technical/experimental trials that the Italian Navy has carried out within the Salto di Quirra test range, and a very important activity that will support the high-tech national industry, also in the export markets. This event represents also the re-entry into service, after 4 years, of the Sardinian test range, fully compliant with the most updated environmental safety requirements.

The missile system, produced by MBDA, is composed of an AGIS Command and Control System, an active Multi-Function Radar for searching, tracking, detection and missile guidance, together with 2 Sylver A-50 vertical launch firing modules.

The SAAM ESD qualification plan is expected to be completed with a follow-on live firing planned for April 2017, when the anti-air warfare complex will be managed seamlessly integrated with the FREMM’s CMS (Combat Management System).

 

CHARACTERISTICS ASTER 30

Weight 948 lbs/430 kg
Length 16 feet/4.9 m
Diameter 7 inch/180 mm
Altitude 65,617 feet/20,000 m
Range In excess of 65 NM/75 miles/120 km
Maximum speed Mach 4.5
Propulsion Solid propellant, two-stage propulsion