MBDA’s AKERON Moyenne Portée (MP) missile has been fired from the BAE Systems Hägglunds CV90 Infantry Combat Vehicle (IFV) at a test range in Northern Sweden, in the presence of representatives of the Swedish Armed Forces.
AKERON is a unique family of fifth-generation tactical combat missiles incorporating the latest technologies in terms of high-resolution multi-band imagers, multi-effect warheads (anti-tank, anti-infrastructure, anti-personnel), data-links, and multi-mode guidance algorithms based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques. CV90 is a highly capable modern Infantry Fighting Vehicle featuring an advanced integrated combat system linked to wider battlefield management systems.
The combination of AKERON MP/LynkEUs and the CV90 combat system offers a unique capability for target engagement in complex environments (forested, urban etc.) through the combination of either immediate target locking of AKERON in Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL) mode, or target acquisition in-flight in Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) mode, all this made possible by the information provided to the crew by the CV90 combat system. This ability of AKERON to engage tanks at ranges of 4 km/2.5 miles, with the option for collaborative combat through the CV90 combat system with a LynkEUs integrated micro-UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for scouting is unique.
The firing conditions for the trial were set to highlight the complementarity of the CV90 advanced combat system with the unique capability of AKERON MP/LYNKEUS, and with regards to winter combat conditions in the Nordic country; with a successful Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL) in TV band.
MBDA and its partners in the DragonFire consortium have successfully carried out the first static high power laser firing of a sovereign UK capability at the Dstl’s range in Porton Down on 17th October 2022.
Using QinetiQ’s phase-combined laser demonstrator, generating in the order of 50 kW of power, focused by Leonardo’s Beam Director and delivered using MBDA’s advanced image processing and Command and Control (C2) system, the trials showed that DragonFire could safely control and focus a high-power laser onto an extremely precise point at long range.
The firing was part of a second set of tests in a series of trials to prove the accuracy and power of the novel DragonFire laser weapon. The first trials, announced in July 2022, proved DragonFire can successfully track, and hit, air and sea targets with exceptionally high accuracy.
Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said, «These successful trials are the latest step in accelerating delivery of a UK sovereign Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) capability. MBDA, Leonardo, QinetiQ and Dstl working together are putting the UK at the forefront of research & technology in this field. The results from these trials have verified analysis and given the team confidence that DragonFire will offer a near term and unique capability».
The next step will be to combine the outcomes of these first two trials, pairing the proven tracking accuracy and the high-power laser, by engaging targets in operationally representative scenarios.
Nexter and MBDA now offer a configuration of the NARWHAL (NAval Remote Weapon, Highly Accurate, Lightweight) turret that includes two pods of AKERON Moyenne Portée (AKERON MP) missiles. This configuration allows for easy installation on any version of the NARWHAL turret, including those already in service. This kit, presented for the first time at Euronaval, consists of two AKERON MP missile pods with the associated control electronics and an operator terminal.
The NARWHAL is a remotely operated 20-mm naval turret that can be integrated just as easily onto small patrol boats as onto frigates. Equipped with state-of-the-art optronics, including a day/night sight and a laser range finder, it is effective at more than 2,000 metres/6,562 feet thanks to its 20M621 gun.
The NARWHAL is already a commercial success, in service with six different navies. To meet their needs and those of future customers, our engineers are working to add new capabilities and options that enhance its operational effectiveness.
The NARWHAL turret presented on the Nexter stand is paired with a manual target designator: the Short-Range Pointer (SRP), designed by the German firm Hensoldt. With this easy-to-use tool, an onboard operator can quickly designate a target to the NARWHAL by pointing a laser beam.
The AKERON MP missile (formerly known as the Missile Moyenne Portée, MMP) has been available to French forces since 2017 and has already been selected by five countries, including three in Europe. It is the only latest-generation land combat missile in service to have been successfully engaged in operations on multiple occasions. With more than 150 test and training firings to its credit, the AKERON MP is capable of dealing with all battlefield threats in all types of environment: extreme heat and cold, urban spaces, maritime areas, and mountainous terrain. Finally, a naval capability is being implemented on the AKERON MP missile to facilitate the acquisition of small targets and signatures from naval platforms, including with a mast-mounted configuration, and provide these platforms with an enhanced self-defence capability in coastal environments against sea- or land-based asymmetric threats. AKERON MP offers both «fire-and-forget» and «man-in-the-loop» capability (for engagements where there is a risk of collateral damage).
The integration of MBDA’s anti-missile system on the NARWHAL turret means that the AKERON MP is now available on a new naval platform, as the system also comes in a dismounted version on a light firing post, as well as on a range of other platforms, such as armoured vehicles, light vehicles, ECUME semi-rigid commando boats, fast patrol boats, or larger ships for close protection needs.
MBDA’s new surface-to-surface fires capabilities for the British Army are being showcased for the first time at Defence Vehicles Dynamics (DVD) 2022.
MBDA’s ‘Land Precision Fires Family’ comprising Surface-Launched Brimstone and Land Precision Strike (LPS) are weapons that provide precision at layered ranges, operating 24/7 with low collateral effects across a wide range of operational scenarios, from peer conflict to a limited sub threshold operation. They will help commanders to win the deep fight and shape the close fight.
Mike Mew, UK Director Sales and Business Development: «The needs of the Army are clear and MBDA’s Future Portfolio, which contains the Land Precision Fires Family, can contribute to enabling CGS’s OP MOBILISE, accelerate Future Soldier, and meet key Land Industrial Strategy objectives. Working with the new Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team is just one example of where MBDA is partnering with the Army to simplify and deliver precision-at-range complex weapons that are packed with the latest technology».
Brimstone’s ‘one missile, multi-platform’ versatility is being showcased at DVD2022, including:
Brimstone on Boxer
The Brimstone on Boxer concept being showcased at DVD has been created by both RBSL and MBDA in response to British Army’s need for a Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) capability, as part of its future anti-armour needs known as Battle Group Organic Anti-Armour (BGOAA). Engaging quickly to deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges, the Brimstone on Boxer mission module provides the capability for Heavy Combat Teams to repel adversary formations and single targets. Rapidly providing an initial capability with current equipment and then spirally developing with broader battlefield integration is at the heart of this concept.
Brimstone on High Mobility Transporter HMT600 series
The Brimstone on HMT600concept has been created by both Supacat and MBDA to provide the Light Forces tactical commander with a similar and complementary organic Overwatch capability to rapidly deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges and in volume. Potentially integrating with in-service equipment such as the Forsberg Fused Target Locator (FTL) and MANTIS Battlefield Management System and also spirally developing over time.
Land Precision Strike
Land Precision Strike (LPS) responds to the emerging artillery need to defeat high-value targets in the deep battle; targets which may be relocatable and fleeting in nature. So, achieving a disproportional operational effect on the adversary.
MBDA is working closely with MOD stakeholders on LPS weapon system concepts that will offer land commanders a step change in capability against armour at range – achieving highly discriminate, highly precise and low collateral effects for both peer and sub-peer conflicts. The plan is to be able to fire the LPS missile from a range of launchers including M270 MLRS, satisfying MOD’s «one platform, many weapons» objective.
PGZ and its subsidiaries, PIT-RADWAR, JELCZ and WZU, working hand-in-hand with MBDA have been making rapid progress on the SHOrt-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) solution, known as «Mała NAREW», with the first two Polish iLaunchers of the system already in Poland undergoing integration and trials ahead of delivery to the customer.
This project aims to deliver rapidly two SHORAD-class fire units equipped with Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) missiles, integrated with SOŁA radar stations and the Polish Command and Control (C2) system.
The «Mała NAREW» units are being adapted to work within one SHORAD class solution. Functional integration of the radar stations, C2 systems and CAMM missile fire control software is going hand-in-hand with the physical integration of subsequent iLauncher with JELCZ trucks chassis. The first training sessions for operators of iLauncher and Polish components of the «Mała NAREW» system has already been conducted.
Sebastian Chwałek, CEO of PGZ S.A. said: «By implementing this program, we strengthen our credibility as a strategic partner for the army, ready to provide advanced air defence systems at record pace. We treat «Mała NAREW» as a test ground before the NAREW program, showing what our capabilities are and how to cooperate with major foreign partner MBDA UK on a joint project. We believe that this relationship will translate into further successes, both for our companies and the armies that will trust us to bring their air defence into XXI century».
Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said: «We’re proud that the co-operation between MBDA and PGZ achieved the arrival of the first air defence hardware into Poland in an incredibly short timeframe. The successes of the «Mała Narew» project are a very positive indicator for the success of PGZ-MBDA co-operation on the wider NAREW project that will include extensive transfer of technology and knowledge to Poland on missiles and launchers».
The «Mała NAREW» program, in addition to the fire units themselves, also includes a training and logistics package. Under the project, PGZ and MBDA are conducting integration of selected British and Polish elements of air defence systems as well as provide technical support for the ordered equipment at the operational stage. The contract provides for the delivery of the first «Mała NAREW» fire unit this year, and the second in 2023.
MBDA presents AKERON, a unique family of fifth-generation tactical combat missiles, a quantum leap from the third and fourth generation weapons currently available on the market. This family includes the MMP and MHT missiles, now renamed AKERON MP and AKERON LP respectively.
With AKERON, MBDA is now offering a family of missiles that can adapt to the needs of collaborative tactical combat.
Today’s combat units operate in a variety of complex environments. These can be urban areas, open countryside, deserts or mountains, during the day or at night; and can also feature a combination and/or variety of forces, both allied and adversary. To respond to the wide range of threats they face, operators must be equipped with a versatile and precise capability enabling them to destroy fixed or mobile land targets – including the latest-generation tanks and light combat vehicles – but also neutralize dismounted adversaries or adversaries in hardened or defensive fighting positions. All whilst minimizing the risk of collateral damage. Operators also need to be protected during engagements with simplicity of implementation, the capacity to «fire and forget» or engage a target while remaining hidden from sight.
Designed for these operational realities, the AKERON family of missiles incorporates the latest technologies in terms of high-resolution multi-band imagers, multi-effect warheads (anti-tank, anti-infrastructure, anti-personnel), data links, and multi-mode guidance algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques. All ensuring robust and precise guidance at any distance, in all conditions. Each has their own specifications in order to be perfectly adapted to the missions of the combat units and platforms using them.
Operators thus have the broadest spectrum of tactical options to deal with their targets, thanks to the many possible modes of engagement. These include ‘fire and forget’, human-in-the-loop, locking the target before firing (LOBL), or locking on after firing (LOAL), which facilitates firing beyond line of sight (BLOS).
The missiles of the AKERON family meet current and future operational needs for dismounted combat as well as from land, air (helicopter, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and even naval platforms. They are also ideal for integration into the digital environment of the battlefield, and suited for collaborative combat.
The UK will become the first European nation to operate a Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence capability that can detect and destroy Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles.
Type 45 Destroyers to receive significant upgrade as the UK to become the first European nation to operate a Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence detect and destroy capability.
UK have joined tri-national ASTER Block 1 missile programme with France and Italy.
Full upgrade programme worth more than £300 million, supporting more than 100 jobs, including highly skilled roles in Stevenage, Cowes, Bristol and Bolton.
The UK is set to become the first European nation to operate a Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence capability that can detect and destroy Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles as it commits to a significant upgrade of Britain’s fleet of Type 45 destroyers.
The upgraded defence system, using the ASTER 30 Block 1 missile previously used only in French and Italian land systems, will help UK forces combat the increasing threats posed by anti-ship ballistic missiles at sea by developing the missile into a maritime variant.
The Ministry of Defence has placed an initial contract for this work with MBDA which, when delivered, will be worth more than £300 million and support more than 100 jobs across the UK – including highly skilled technology roles in areas such as system design and software engineering in Stevenage, Cowes, Bristol and Bolton.
Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said: «As we face global uncertainty, alliances and greater defensive capability are more important than ever. Joining our French and Italian counterparts will see us collectively improve the cutting-edge technology our armed forces possess».
It is another example of us delivering on the commitments from the Defence Command Paper, helping protect our service personnel when faced with the most severe threats.
Upgrading the defensive capability of the Type 45 fleet was committed to in the Defence Command Paper, as part of the Integrated Review last year. Being able to defend against anti-ship ballistic missiles will add to the current capability of the Destroyers to defeat threats from the air.
The signing of the tri-national agreement is the first formal step in the upgrade of the six vessels, which will include converting existing missiles to the ASTER 30 Block 1 standard, as well as updates to the SAMPSON Multi-Function Radar (MFR) and Sea Viper command and control missile system, under the full Sea Viper Evolution programme.
Sea Viper’s upgrade will boost the lethality of the Type 45 vessels, helping to ensure the Royal Navy remains poised to defend the surface fleet and the Maritime Strike Group against complex air threats both now and into the future.
DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom, said: «This demonstrates the UK commitment to delivering a cutting-edge maritime Air Defence Capability. Sea Viper Evolution will deliver a significant uplift in capability and brings to a close many years of detailed planning and activity by the Maritime Air and Weapons team in DE&S».
The Sea Viper Evolution programme follows the recent contract awards to introduce the Common Anti Air Modular Missile (CAMM) into the Type 45, which will see the missile outload of the platform increased from 48 to 72 missiles.
The Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers are among the most advanced in the fleet and carry out a range of activity, including defence from air attack, counter-piracy operations and providing humanitarian aid».
MBDA’s new Marte Extended Range (ER) anti-ship missile successfully completed its final test firing at the end of November 2021.
Carried out at an Italian test range in Sardinia, the firing was a key milestone in the validation process of Marte ER. It provided extra confidence in the performance level and reliability of this new missile.
A telemetric production standard missile with all functional capabilities and production hardware embedded was used. The only exception was the use of an inert warhead instead of a live one. The ground based launching system used was also in its final hardware and software configuration.
Using its mission planning software, the missile carried out a long-range sea skimming flight. It made three main turns and a pop-up/dive manoeuvre during the last turn. A straight segment then followed up to the Radio Frequency (RF) seeker activation point. Target identification, selection and tracking was extremely fast and proportional guidance started soon after.
During its terminal phase, the missile successfully performed its anti-Close-in Weapon Systems manoeuvre, hitting the target just above the water line at high transonic speed. This confirmed the outstanding effectiveness of Marte ER’s terminal guidance with its new solid state RF Seeker.
The firing also showed Marte ER’s turbojet engine behaviour was excellent for both “in flight start time” and thrust level.
This firing was the last one in the development path of Marte ER, which will enter into operation early next year.
MBDA has been awarded a number of contracts to significantly upgrade the air and missile defence capabilities of the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers.
The work will see CAMM (Common Anti-air Modular Missile) paired with an upgraded Sea Viper Command and Control (C2) system for the first time. CAMM offers both world-leading close-in and local-area air defence, and will complement Aster 30, strengthening the anti-air defence capability of the Royal Navy.
Fitting CAMM onto the Type 45s will give the destroyers a 50% increase in the number of its air defence missiles. Installation will be via 24 additional launcher cells, and the Sea Viper C2 will get a technology upgrade, giving it a major increase in processing power.
The existing 48 Sylver cells on the Type 45 will now be solely for the longer-range Aster 30 missile, which is also subject to a recently announced mid-life refresh. This will see the missile remain in service throughout the life of the Type 45s.
CAMM has already been delivered to both the British Army and the Royal Navy, where it is the interceptor in both Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) and Naval-Based Air Defence (NBAD) systems, enabling these services to equip missiles from a shared stockpile.
In service on upgraded Royal Navy Type 23 frigates, CAMM will also be fitted to Type 26 and Type 31 in the future. The CAMM family has proven a rapid success with international customers, with Canada and Brazil among the new users ordering the missile this year.
MBDA has successfully completed a firing of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile Extended Range CAMM-ER air defence missile against a manoeuvring target, confirming the excellent capability of the CAMM family system.
The trial took place at an Italian firing range. CAMM-ER is the extended range member of the new-generation CAMM air defence family of systems.
All members of the CAMM family share the same cutting-edge active radar seeker and soft-launch system, with CAMM-ER featuring a larger rocket motor designed by AVIO to provide extended range out beyond 40 km/24.85 miles.
CAMM-ER was designed to replace the Aspide munition in the Medium Advanced Air Defence System (MAADS) of the Italian Air Force and the GRIFO air defence system of the Italian Army. CAMM-ER is the missile that will be used in the Albatros NG system, which provides an optimized Naval Based Air Defence (NBAD) solution to enhance the defence capabilities of naval fleets.