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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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».
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.
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.
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;
Enclosed space firing capability;
Lightweight (missile + launch tube < 20 lbs/9kg);
Day and night operation;
System weight (sight and two munitions) < 44 lbs/20kg;
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).
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).
From 4th to 14th October, MBDA Deutschland successfully conducted tests of a new high-energy laser effector at a military training facility on Germany’s North Sea coast, marking the next step in the progression from technology to product. In this series of trials, the system was tested under real environmental conditions for the first time.
The primary purpose of this series of trials was to test the beam guidance and tracking system, with a simulated engagement of airborne targets. In this exercise, the targets were preset, scanned with the laser target illuminator, and an aim point was held on the target for an extended period. The quadcopter, serving as the airborne target, performed a variety of often highly dynamic manoeuvres at a variety of ranges.
«These successful tests demonstrated that our laser effector has achieved a high degree of technological maturity. This puts us in a leading position in the development of laser effectors», said Thomas Gottschild, Managing Director of MBDA Deutschland GmbH.
The tests verified the functionality of the overall system and the performance capability of the further improved tracking system. In spite of often adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain and storms, the system was able to successfully track all the targets involved in the trials. During night trials, the demonstrator proved capable of acquiring and tracking targets even under conditions of poor visibility. In other experiments, the laser team simulated a defence against a swarming attack, which required rapid switching between targets approaching from different directions.
The new system demonstrator builds on the experience gained in previous laser activities and proven technologies. It is integrated in a standard container and is equipped with a highly dynamic 360-degree beam guidance system. The MBDA Deutschland solution features high precision, scalability of effect and low logistics costs. The sophisticated mirror optics are capable of harnessing higher laser power levels than those available today. The laser effector thus has enormous future potential.
MBDA has been awarded a £100M Demonstration and Manufacture contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the Sea Ceptor air defence system for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) new class of frigate, the Type 26 (T26) Global Combat Ship (GCS). This advanced missile system will provide the principal air defence of the T26 and nearby ships against advanced airborne threats including sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
The contract is further evidence of the confidence placed in the capability and maturity of the Sea Ceptor system and its CAMM (Common Anti-air Modular Missile) munition by the UK MOD and the RN.
This Demonstration and Manufacture contract will run for 10 years and involves support to the T26 design as well as the manufacture of the electronics equipment required for the class of eight ships.
Welcoming the contract announcement, James Allibone MBDA’s UK Sales & Business Development Director said: «This investment in the Sea Ceptor system is going to give the Royal Navy and partner navies outstanding air defence cover. Thanks to the Portfolio Management Agreement with the UK MOD, MBDA is providing a common missile system for both naval and land use thereby significantly reducing the cost that would have been involved in developing separate systems».
With Sea Ceptor now selected for five different naval platform types around the world, MBDA sees further potential for the system and the CAMM family of missiles with other navies. Dave Armstrong, MBDA Executive Group Director Sales & Business Development and UK Managing Director states: «Naval air defence is more critical than ever given the growing capability of airborne threats. CAMM’s operational flexibility and ease of integration, both as a retrofit or on a new build, combine to offer unrivalled product advantages. Customers appreciate that they are looking at a product which is at the very start of its lifecycle, a product that represents the very latest in air defence technology and one that will be supported with ongoing through life enhancements for at least the next thirty years or more».
218 lbs/99 kg
10.5 feet/3.2 m
6.5 inch/16.6 cm
In excess of 13.5 NM/15.5 miles/25 km
broad target set including high speed, manoeuvring, low signature targets in high level countermeasure environments;
can be used with a variety of surveillance sensor systems;
On October 14, TAURUS Systems GmbH, a joint venture of MBDA Deutschland GmbH (67 %) and SAAB Dynamics AB (33 %), handed over the first lot of TAURUS KEPD 350K stand-off missiles to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF). The ceremony, which saw the participation of representatives from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and the RoKAF, was performed at the headquarters of TAURUS Systems GmbH in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, and marked the start of series deliveries.
The TAURUS KEPD 350K programme is progressing according to plan and the integration to the Korean Air Force F-15K Strike Eagle fighter aircraft is in the final stages. TAURUS KEPD 350K weapon system will provide RoKAF with the most advanced stand-off and deep strike capability currently available on the world market.
TAURUS KEPD 350K is an enhanced and upgraded version of the TAURUS KEPD 350 missile, which has been in service with the German Air Force since 2005 and with the Spanish Air Force since 2009.
The TAURUS KEPD 350K is a modular stand-off missile system for precision strikes. The KEPD 350K missile has been designed and developed to fly through dense air defenses at a very low terrain-following level and for the engagement of high-value targets. The missile contains a highly effective dual stage warhead system, which combines excellent penetration capabilities for hard and deeply buried targets with blast-and-fragmentation capabilities against point and area targets.
CHARACTERISTICS (KEPD 350E)
1,400 kg/3,086.5 lbs
5 m/16.4 feet
> 500 km/310.7 miles
German TAURUS KEPD 350E is designed to penetrate dense air defences by utilising very low level terrain-following flight in order to neutralise high-value stationary and semi-stationary targets. Its highly effective dual stage warhead system MEPHISTO, combines the capability of defeating Hard and Deeply Buried Targets (HDBT) and a blast and fragmentation capability to take out high-value point and area targets
The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) announced during a ceremony at the Farnborough International Airshow on July 11 that MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) has now officially entered service on its Gripen combat aircraft.
The announcement was made by Major General Mats Helgesson, Chief-of-Staff of the SwAF, in the presence of the CEO of Saab AB, Håkan Buskhe and the CEO of MBDA, Antoine Bouvier. Major General Helgesson, said, «After extensive testing by FMV and the Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation unit, all of the new MS20 functions including the Meteor missile are now fully integrated with Gripen. The Swedish Air Force is now in its Initial Operational Capability phase with the Meteor. The Meteor missile is currently the most lethal radar-guided missile in operational service, and the Swedish Air Force is the only operational user so far. I am very proud and satisfied to have the Meteor in the inventory of my air force».
Antoine Bouvier, MBDA CEO in responding to the announcement said: «Today is a very special day for the Swedish Air Force, for Saab and Gripen, for Meteor, for MBDA and particularly for multi-national industrial cooperation in defence. Meteor is a missile that no nation could have developed or produced alone. Sweden and the five other Partner Nations in the programme – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – can be both proud and confident that they have a missile that ensures unquestionable air superiority for their pilots in the defence of their respective countries’ sovereign interests. Along with that, and thanks to their involvement in the programme, they also have the freedom and independence to deploy and develop this unique missile capability as they see fit and as their requirements evolve. MBDA looks forward to continuing its extremely close cooperation with Sweden and Swedish industry in developing world-class military capabilities in support of the sovereignty and freedom of action of both Sweden and other cooperating nations».
At the end of April 2016, the FMV (Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration) introduced the latest MS20 software load to the SwAF’s Gripen fleet thus enabling the JAS 39C/D to become the first aircraft capable of operating the ramjet-powered Meteor missile.
Meteor is a next generation, Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) system that will revolutionise air-to-air combat in the 21st Century. The weapon’s development has brought together six nations with a common need to defeat the threats of today as well as those of the foreseeable future. Initially developed for Europe’s new generation of combat aircraft: Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale, Meteor is also being integrated on the F-35 Lightning II.
Meteor’s stunning performance is achieved through its unique ramjet propulsion system – solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket. This throttleable ramjet motor ensures that the missile has maximum thrust when it is most required, namely at the end game leading up to target intercept. As a result, Meteor features the largest No-Escape Zone of any other current or planned air-to-air missile system. Guided by an advanced active radar seeker, Meteor provides all weather capability to engage a wide variety of targets from agile fast jets to small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and cruise missiles. It is designed to meet the most stringent of requirements and is capable of operating in the most severe of clutter and countermeasure environments.
With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2015 MBDA achieved a turnover of 2.9 billion euros with an order book of 15.1 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems.
MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). In total, the group offers a range of 45 missile systems and countermeasures products already in operational service and more than 15 others currently in development.
MBDA is jointly held by Airbus Group (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%), and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (25%).
The Brimstone air-to-surface missile developed by MBDA has successfully undertaken challenging operational evaluation trials by the Royal Air Force (RAF) that confirm the performance of the missile’s latest technical enhancements. This was achieved during February 2016 at China Lake in the USA as the culmination of a programme to advance the operational edge this highly capable missile brings. Brimstone has a record of approximately 500 missile firings with a very high success rate since its entry into service.
The operational evaluation trials involved 11 missile firings, including at the edge of the weapon system’s performance envelope. The trials were conducted against a variety of operational scenarios with precise hits on very small, fast moving vehicles and against complex static targets. The trials included single and salvo firings, whilst laser, millimetric radar and dual mode guided modes were used, as was ground-based, third party laser designation.
The trials demonstrated the missile engagement envelope is significantly increased over the in-service missile, providing a 100% increase in stand-off range (based on MBDA modelling and release ranges of the in-service missile), and a significantly increased ability to engage targets at high off-bore sight angles. This improves the ability to fire from a launch platform performing a Close Air Support (CAS) flying pattern («wheel») over the battlefield, without the need to manoeuvre the platform to align with the target.
The firings also successfully demonstrated the new Insensitive Munition (IM) warhead, against armoured and non-armoured targets whilst bringing additional deployment benefits.
The RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon will benefit first from this enhanced capability, with an integration programme underway for 2018. Separate activities are being conducted for Brimstone’s potential use on the UK’s Future Attack Helicopter and Protector Remotely-Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).