Tag Archives: MBDA

Missile Moyenne Portée

France’s defence procurement agency, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), has accepted the delivery to the French Armed Forces of the first batch of 50 missiles and 20 firing posts from the new MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée – Medium-Range Missile) system.

MMP used by dismounted troops during training operation
MMP used by dismounted troops during training operation

The deliveries were conducted between 15 and 23 November. The new system will gradually replace the Milan, the HOT missiles mounted on VAB Armoured Fighting Vehicles and the ERYX for some of these missiles. It will be issued to French Army infantry and cavalry units, and to Special Forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The MMP programme will see the delivery of 400 firing posts and 1,750 missiles across all of the French Armed Forces by 2025. The first deliveries will be used to train future users. The weapon system will be deployed in operations in the course of 2018.

The DGA, which awarded MBDA the MMP contract in 2013, qualified the system last July, clearing the way for serial production. The government-run techno-operational trials at the DGA’s test centre in Bourges from August to October 2017, with the assistance of operational experts from the Section Technique de l’Armée de Terre (STAT), underlined the excellent performances of the system and confirmed that it met the requirement of the armed forces.

Thanks to input from army experts since the early stages of development and through to qualification, the MMP benefits from lessons learned in recent operational engagements. It offers both ‘fire-and-forget’ and ‘man-in-the-loop’ capabilities. The first enables fixed or mobile targets to be hit without intervention by the operator during the missile’s flight. The second allows the operator to change targets mid-flight, to refine the point of impact, or to divert the missile; it also opens up the possibility of firing at hidden targets beyond the direct line of sight.

The weapon system can be used by day and by night. Its multi-purpose warhead is effective against a wide variety of targets such as vehicles, armour, infrastructures and personnel. Its extreme accuracy gives it the ability to strike at a range of over 4,000 metres/13,123 feet while minimising the risk of collateral damage. Finally, the missile can be fired from confined spaces, a crucial characteristic for urban combat. MMP can be fired by dismounted infantrymen and is also to be fitted on the EBRC (Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat – Reconnaissance and Combat Armoured Vehicle) Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle, due to be delivered to the French Army in 2020.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight (incl. Tube) 15 kg/33 lbs
Length 1.3 m/4.26 feet in tactical canister
Diameter 140 mm/5.5 inches
Range 4,000 metres/13,123 feet

 

SmartGlider

MBDA presents SmartGlider at Dubai Airshow, a new family of air launched guided weapons, for the first time outside Europe.

MBDA presents SmartGlider, a new family of air launched guided weapons
MBDA presents SmartGlider, a new family of air launched guided weapons

«We are seeing a huge interest in the SmartGlider family from the region», states Florent Duleux, MBDA Vice-President Middle East. «The region’s air forces are equipped with the latest generation of combat aircraft, particularly European combat aircraft, and Smart Glider allows the full exploitation of the sensors and systems that equip these modern aircraft – to deliver military effects that could not even be considered before».

The new SmartGlider family of guided weapons is optimised to counter anti-access strategies and other emerging battlespace threats. Designed to complement newest and future fast jets, SmartGlider forms a family of all-up-round glider weapons, with folding wings and a range of over 100 km/62 miles allowing the combat platform to stay at safe distance from the enemy defences. 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.

The compact family member, SmartGlider Light, is 2 meters/6,56 feet long and weighs 120 kg/264.5 lbs. 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 1,300 kg/2,866 lbs SmartGlider Heavy able to carry a multipurpose warhead of more than 1,000 kg/2,204.6 lbs to deal with large and hardened infrastructure.

SmartGliders will integrate new technologies in their guidance and navigation functions, as well as multi-purpose 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.

Brimstone missile

A series of live firings of the MBDA Brimstone precision strike missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon have been completed successfully, adding enhanced capability to the aircraft.

Brimstone missile trials completed successfully as part of Eurofighter Typhoon enhancement programme
Brimstone missile trials completed successfully as part of Eurofighter Typhoon enhancement programme

The trials, conducted from BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information at Warton, Lancashire, UK, form part of a programme of new enhancements which will be rolled out across the Royal Air Force (RAF), ensuring Typhoon remains at the cutting edge of combat capability.

Brimstone will provide Typhoon with a low collateral, pin-point accurate air-to-surface weapon, further enhancing the aircraft’s already combat-proven swing-role performance. Planning for the next stages of work on Brimstone – including evaluation by the RAF in mid-2018 – is now underway ahead of its entry into service.

Andy Flynn, Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, BAE Systems, said: «To complete this milestone is testament to the expertise and dedication of our people and the value of working closely with our partners. Brimstone will add a low-collateral, high precision strike capability and ensure Typhoon remains fit to meet the threats of the future for decades to come».

Brimstone is part of the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package which also includes mission system and sensor upgrades. P3E is the final part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the RAF.

In total nine firings and nine jettison trials, which began in July, have been completed, with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo.

The aim of the trials was to provide weapons integration clearance for operational use. They covered a range of specific release scenarios, testing at various heights, speeds, levels of G-force and in different positions on the aircraft wing and in the launcher. The nine firings have also been used to perform data analysis and models of the weapon’s performance. Further flight trials will take place in early 2018, followed by operational evaluation by the RAF.

Operational evaluation of the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) package with the with RAF’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK, is continuing and will include live firings ahead of roll out to the UK fleet. The P2E package includes MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile and the Storm Shadow deep strike stand-off air-to-surface missile.

Expanded production

Arlington, Virginia, MBDA Inc. is proud to announce a new contract award from Boeing to produce up to 21,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1). This new contract follows a U.S. Air Force award to Boeing for additional SDB-1 production.

MBDA Inc. is proud to announce a new contract award from Boeing to produce up to 21,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1)
MBDA Inc. is proud to announce a new contract award from Boeing to produce up to 21,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1)

MBDA’s Diamond Back Wing Assembly – a key component of Boeing’s Small Diameter Bomb-features a patented tandem wing design that improves SDB’s manoeuverability and extends its range to over 60 nautical miles/69 miles/111 km, increasing pilot safety and expanding operational reach. SDB-1 is an advanced precision-guided glide bomb that provides aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of weapons and accurately strike multiple targets in a single combat sortie.

Following the announcement of the contract award, MBDA Inc.’s CEO John Pranzatelli said: «This new award is possible thanks to our strong partnership with Boeing and outstanding past performance over many years of delivering wing kits. As the MBDA Inc. Huntsville team scales up and expands our reach into the U.S. supply chain, we will continue to meet customer requirements on time and budget. In addition to Diamond Back, MBDA Inc. remains committed to introducing MBDA’s superior portfolio of precision guided munitions and advanced technology to the U.S».

MBDA Inc. has been recognized with three Boeing Performance Excellence Awards over the course of producing over 18,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies. MBDA produced the 20,000th unit in September 2017.

MBDA Inc. will continue assembling and testing Diamond Back Wing Assemblies at its Huntsville, Alabama facility. MBDA Inc. is also hiring new staff and expanding its facilities to accommodate increasing demand for wing assemblies.

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.