Tag Archives: MBDA

First firing trial

The Brimstone 3 ultra-high precision missile system has successfully achieved a major milestone by completing its first firing trial at the Vidsel Trials range in Sweden.

The new-build Brimstone missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years
The new-build Brimstone missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years

Whilst enduring extreme weather conditions with temperatures below -30°C, the missile was surface launched against a pick-up truck target.

All trials objectives were fully achieved with the missile proving, through a telemetry unit, full closed loop guidance with the seeker progressing into target acquisition and track.

Russell Jamieson, Chief Engineer, said: «The trial further proves Brimstone’s fully flexible platform approach, providing a «one missile, multiple platform» capability, for surface launch, fast jet, Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), attack helicopter, land and maritime platforms, all utilising the same missile. The result really was a tremendous success, and thanks to the hard work and determination of the whole team».

The demonstrated surface to surface capability builds on the advanced guidance and targeting abilities developed during the Brimstone programme and from hundreds of successful operational firings against targets in structures, main battle tanks/armoured vehicles, maritime vessels, trucks, fast moving and manoeuvring cars/motorbikes and individual targets in the open.

Brimstone 3 is the product of the Brimstone Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP), announced in March 2018, that will provide new Brimstone missiles for the UK Armed Forces in order to replenish the country’s inventory and to maintain the UK’s battlefield edge into the future. It will also provide the ability to fully meet current and future export supply needs.

The new-build Brimstone missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years which include the highly capable Dual Mode Semi-Active Laser (SAL)/millimetric Wave (mmW) seeker, enhanced autopilot, and the new insensitive munition compliant rocket motor and warhead, all combining to provide unique performance capabilities of Brimstone against the most challenging of targets. The new hardware standard will also enable the addition of further capability upgrades in the future.

Meteor and Spear

A team of BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA engineers enhancing the capability of the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning II aircraft by commencing work on the integration of next generation weapons.

Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet
Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet

BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 Lightning II programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile.

Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the UK.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President – U.S. Programmes of BAE Systems, said: «BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR. We are extremely proud of the critical contribution UK engineers are playing for both the UK and the global F-35 fleet through the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft».

Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said: «This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work».

Last year, a pilot from 17 Squadron, the RAF’s F-35 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California took to the skies for the first time with UK weapons, including ASRAAM and Paveway IV.

This followed work carried out during the F-35 Lightning II programme’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) initial testing phase to develop and certify weapons capabilities by an integrated test team. This team includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA, working alongside the UK Air Warfare Centre to clear weapons for Operational Testing by Royal Air Force/Royal Navy (RAF/RN) pilots.

First anti-tank UGV

MBDA and Milrem Robotics are showcasing the world’s first anti-tank Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) at IDEX 2019, the main defence industry event in the MENA region. The debut of the system’s advanced concept comes only eight months after Milrem Robotics and MBDA announced the start of feasibility studies of the system.

The land combat warfare system is intended to be remotely operated. Soldiers can deploy it while remaining at a safe distance and using a wireless or a tethered connection
The land combat warfare system is intended to be remotely operated. Soldiers can deploy it while remaining at a safe distance and using a wireless or a tethered connection

The joint project integrates the Milrem Robotics THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle with the MBDA IMPACT (Integrated MMP Precision Attack Combat Turret) system fitted with two MMP 5th generation battlefield engagement missiles and a self-defence machine gun. «This combination of two of the most modern technologies in their field is a very good example how robotic warfare systems will bring disruption to the battlefield and make some traditional technologies obsolete», said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. «Our unmanned land combat system under study together with MBDA will be very efficient in keeping our troops safe and significantly increasing the capability to fight main battle tanks as well as any other ground target», Väärsi added.

The land combat warfare system is intended to be remotely operated. Soldiers can deploy it while remaining at a safe distance and using a wireless or a tethered connection. The system will have a low heat and noise signature so it can stay unnoticed until completing its mission.

«Being delivered to the French Army since the end of 2017, the MMP system is now deployed by the French forces in theatre, where it replaces the Milan and Javelin missiles. With fully digitalized functions of observation, targeting, positioning and guidance, the MMP system is perfectly suited for integration on vehicles, including remotely operated ones», said Francis Bordachar, Military Advisor Land Products at MBDA.

Brimstone and Protector

MBDA has received a contract for the integration of its Brimstone high-precision strike missile onto the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted aircraft developed and manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI).

The Protector RG Mk1 can carry three lightweight Brimstones per weapon station, and so offers a much higher loadout than the Reaper platform it will replace
The Protector RG Mk1 can carry three lightweight Brimstones per weapon station, and so offers a much higher loadout than the Reaper platform it will replace

Brimstone and Protector RG Mk1 will provide key new capabilities to the Royal Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) force, enabling them to engage high-speed moving and manoeuvring targets (including maritime fast attack craft for the first time). The Protector RG Mk1 can carry three lightweight Brimstones per weapon station, and so offers a much higher loadout than the Reaper platform it will replace.

Integration of Brimstone onto Protector RG Mk1 (which is the weaponised version of MQ-9B SkyGuardian) follows a series of successful firing trials of Brimstone from the Reaper/Predator B aircraft in the United States that demonstrated the advancement in performance that Brimstone offers. Brimstone integration will be completed in time for the entry to service of the aircraft with the RAF.

James Allibone, MBDA’s UK Sales Director, said: «Protector RG Mk1 is the third UK air platform to benefit from the unmatched capabilities of the Brimstone missile, providing UK Armed Forces with vital operational advantages and sovereign defence capabilities. Brimstone is unique in its ability to be carried by platforms in all domains, land, sea and air, providing a common weapon that delivers both operational and cost benefits. Commonality is a key part of all MBDA’s latest systems, and is a major contributor to the £1.7 billion in savings that the partnership approach between the UK MoD and MBDA has generated».

Earlier in 2018, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) announced a £400 million contract with MBDA for the Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) of Brimstone missile, to build new missiles and extend this missile’s service life beyond 2030.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 50 kg/110.2 lbs.
Length 1.8 m/5.9 feet
Diameter 180 mm/7 inch

 

Against fast boats

At the end of 2018, MBDA successfully demonstrated the use of the Mistral missile against fast boats such as FIACs (Fast Inshore Attack Crafts). A number of foreign delegations attended the demonstration firing that was performed from a SIMBAD-RC automated naval turret firing from the land against a fast moving remotely-controlled semi-rigid boat more than 3 kilometres/1.86 miles off the coast. The scenario was intended to be representative of the self-protection of a vessel against an asymmetric threat (commando or terrorist attack).

The turret is remotely-operated, allowing the operator to remain under cover in the vessel’s operation centre
The turret is remotely-operated, allowing the operator to remain under cover in the vessel’s operation centre

In its latest version currently in service with the French armed forces, the Mistral is an air defence missile equipped with an imaging infrared seeker with advanced image processing capabilities that allow it to engage low thermal signature targets from a long distance (such targets include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), missiles and fast boats), whilst at the same time offering excellent resistance to countermeasures.

The SIMBAD-RC is a remotely-controlled very short range naval air defence system that provides highly efficient capacities against a wide range of threats, from combat aircraft through anti-ship missiles to small-sized threats such as UAVs.

The system is easy to install and thus provides small units or support vessels with a true self-defence capacity, or can even ensure reinforced defence for the other types of surface vessels. Each turret supports two ready-to-fire Mistral missiles. The turret is remotely-operated, allowing the operator to remain under cover in the vessel’s operation centre, and thus ensures longer operational availability in case of a combat alert.

«MBDA is constantly striving to help armed forces make optimum use of their investments in our products», said MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier. «The demonstration of the SIMBAD-RC Mistral combination against surface targets reflects our policy of giving our systems additional capacities to supplement those they were originally designed to provide».

At the end of 2018, MBDA successfully demonstrated the use of the Mistral missile against fast boats such as FIACs (Fast Inshore Attack Crafts)

Beyond Line Of Sight

EU Defence ministers have endorsed on 19 November the EU BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) project amongst a list of 17 defence projects aiming at being implemented in the frame of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Proposed by France and supported by Belgium and Cyprus, the EU BLOS project is the first missile system project to benefit from this new cooperation framework.

The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities
The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities

Promoting a differentiating operational capability for military operations, this project will contribute to a consistent and autonomous European approach in the land combat domain whilst enhancing the qualitative contribution of European nations to the achievement of NATO’s level of ambition. The land combat domain has been recognized since June 2018 as one of the 11 European capability priorities.

The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities. Based on the MMP missile system, this family of products will be fully mastered by European industry, which provides full autonomy of use, security of supply and future evolutions, to the benefit of the 25 PESCO member nations. One of the first priorities of this project will focus on defining a European doctrine of use and its associated concepts of operation. This project will pave the way for the creation of a European users club which will develop the growth potential of the MMP missile system in terms of missile evolutions as well as in terms of integration to a wide range of land and air platforms.

The EU BLOS project will also benefit from the CAMO (CApacité MOtorisée) bilateral strategic partnership between France and Belgium, helping build operational and capability synergies across the armies of both nations.

First Firing

MBDA’s Marte ER anti-ship missile has completed its first firing, successfully passing a major phase in its development.

The Marte ER missile flew for more than 100 km/62 miles/54 NM on a planned trajectory
The Marte ER missile flew for more than 100 km/62 miles/54 NM on a planned trajectory

The firing trial was carried out on 9 November in an Italian test range. The Marte ER missile flew for more than 100 km/62 miles/54 NM on a planned trajectory that included several waypoints and sea skimming flight, successfully testing all flying phases.

Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Executive Group Director Sales & Business Development and Managing Director MBDA Italia, commented: «This test is a further confirmation of the robustness of the ER version of the Marte family of multi-platform anti-ship missiles that can be launched by ships, helicopters, coastal batteries and fast jets. The Marte family has a strong and successful history both at domestic and international levels: most recently with Marte ER being ordered earlier in 2018 by the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) for their new NH90 helicopters. Marte is a single product family that can cover several missions, offering our customers a high level of operational flexibility in the area of maritime superiority, a domain where MBDA in Italy has been able throughout its long history not only to maintain but also to grow as well as further develop competencies and know-how».

The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements. Having completed the 18 months System Definition Phase, the full integration of Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

Next generation MICA

The French Defence Procurement Agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) has awarded MBDA the contract for the MICA NG (Missile d’Interception et de Combat Aérien Nouvelle Génération) programme to develop the next generation of the MICA missile. With deliveries scheduled to begin in 2026, MICA NG will be available to arm the current and future versions of the Rafale combat aircraft.

MBDA to develop the next generation of the MICA missile
MBDA to develop the next generation of the MICA missile

MICA NG is intended as the replacement for the MICA missiles currently in operational service with the French armed forces and exported to 14 countries worldwide. The NG programme includes an extensive redesign of the current MICA family while keeping the same aerodynamics, mass and centre of gravity. This is done to minimise the amount of adaptation required to operate the new system with existing platforms and launchers. The unique concept that has ensured the ongoing success of MICA for two decades remains: the option of two different seekers (infrared and radio frequency) and two launch modes (rail and ejection) in a single missile casing.

The technological step changes introduced with this change of generation will provide the capability to counter future threats. This includes targets with reduced infrared and electromagnetic signatures, atypical targets (UAVs and small aircraft), as well as the threats normally countered by air-to-air missiles (combat aircraft and helicopters).

More specifically, the infrared seeker will use a matrix sensor providing greater sensitivity. Meanwhile the radio frequency seeker will use an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Antenna), enabling smart detection strategies. The reduced volume of electronic components within MICA NG will allow it to carry a larger quantity of propellant, thereby significantly extending the range of the missile. Utilising a new double-pulse rocket motor will also provide additional energy to the missile at the end of its flight to improve manoeuvrability and the ability to intercept targets at long range. Lastly, the addition of internal sensors will allow the monitoring of the status of the weapon throughout its life (including during storage and transport), contributing to significantly reduced maintenance requirements and cost of ownership.

MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier said at the programme launch: «We are proud of the work completed with the DGA to achieve maximum technical and financial optimisation. The fact that we have reached this stage is thanks to the vision that we were able to share with our French customer to address its operational challenges, as well as our own long-term commercial challenges. The upgrading of the MICA family will enable us to support the armed forces throughout the remaining operational life of the Rafale».

 

About the MICA missile

MICA entered service in 1997, and was designed to replace the short-term MAGIC 2 missile and the medium-range Super 530 D missile with a single weapon system equipped with two interchangeable seekers: one being radio frequency and the other infrared. Approximately 5,000 MICA missiles in various versions have been ordered by 22 armed forces around the world.

MMP 5th generation

MBDA has unveiled its new naval offering based on the MMP 5th generation ground combat missile at Euronaval. This decision follows the operational evaluation campaign carried out at the end of the summer by the French armed forces in Djibouti to confirm the reliability and operational performance of the Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP – Medium-Range Missile) system in a hot environment, both from the ground and also from a Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) moving at high speed.

The success of this evaluation allows MBDA to extend the integration perspectives of the MMP system
The success of this evaluation allows MBDA to extend the integration perspectives of the MMP system

A total of nine MMP missiles were fired with all reaching their target. Two of these shots were fired by the maritime force of marines and commandos from a L’Embarcation Commando à Usage Multiple Embarquable (ECUME) RHIB. A first firing from the sea-to-land and the second from sea-to-sea have demonstrated the ease of use of the MMP.

The success of this evaluation allows MBDA to extend the integration perspectives of the MMP system and to propose it on fast attack craft or semi-rigid boats for missions against hostile ships, coastal defenses or armored vehicles, especially in support of a landing of small units or Special Forces.

At Euronaval, the MMP system (firing post and missile) is presented on the Zodiac Milpro booth, installed on a Hurricane type RHIB. On fast patrol boats, the MMP will be fired from a stabilised turret carrying four ready-to-fire ammunitions installed in launchers protecting the missiles from the maritime environment. The turret can be controlled from a dedicated console or from a multifunction console in the ship’s operations center.

Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA, said: «Today’s launch of a family of naval systems based on the MMP missile is aligned with the trajectory we initiated with the French armies at the launch of the MMP program in 2011. By deciding at that time to introduce the most modern technologies of guidance and propulsion together with a multi-effect warhead, we laid the foundations of a family of weapons capable of meeting the most demanding constraints the armed forces may encounter in the field, in terms of tactical effects, in terms of mobility, as well as in environmental terms. The MMP family sees today the advent of naval versions. I have no doubt that the MMP will give birth to other more powerful versions in the near future».

MBDA Introduces Naval Versions of the MMP 5th Generation Missiles System
MBDA Introduces Naval Versions of the MMP 5th Generation Missiles System

Milrem Robotics

The leading European missile systems designer and producer MBDA and unmanned vehicles manufacturer Milrem Robotics will begin developing the world’s first Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) specially designed for anti-tank purposes.

MBDA and Milrem Robotics to develop anti-tank unmanned ground vehicle
MBDA and Milrem Robotics to develop anti-tank unmanned ground vehicle

The joint project will feature the IMPACT (Integrated MMP Precision Attack Combat Turret) system from MBDA that will be integrated onto the THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle by Milrem Robotics.

The system will be remotely operated and is in line with the system developers’ main aim of exchanging humans on the battlefield for much more capable robots.

«One of the challenges in urban warfare is keeping anti-tank infantry hidden from the enemy’s surveillance equipment that can very easily detect soldier’s heat signature. The aim of our joint integration project is developing a system that has a low heat signature and most importantly – will keep infantry in a safe distance», explained Brig Gen (res) Alar Laneman, military advisor of Milrem Robotics.

«MMP, the world’s only 5th Generation anti-tank guided weapon, now in service within the French Armed Forces, has been developed for both mounted and dismounted applications and is suitable for unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). With its 4km+ range and its two firing modes – Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) and Lock On After Launch (LOAL) – the MMP gives to THeMIS UGV an unmatched capability to engage a target beyond line of sight. MMP allows, within remote operation, to engage very discreetly battlefield targets at ranges greater than the enemies counter fire, from behind cover and within structures in fighting in built-up areas. The MMP Firing installation deployed on UGV also provides an ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, & Reconnaissance) capability and, through direct integration with a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) network, delivers battlefield intelligence out beyond the platoon», added the former Colonel Francis Bordachar, military advisor of MBDA.