Tag Archives: MBDA

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.

Anti-drone

MBDA’s Licorne pocket air defence Command and Control (C2) system has become the first fielded C2 to integrate anti-drone and traditional air defence capabilities.

MBDA Sidonie DESCHAMPS 2018
MBDA Sidonie DESCHAMPS 2018

Licorne is a very lightweight C2 solution with the ability to co-ordinate Very SHOrt-Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) systems, such as those of the Mistral family. A highly mobile C2, it is derived from the Improved Missile Control Post (I-MCP) and Platoon Command Post (PCP) systems family currently in use with armed forces in export markets, using the same software components, architecture and Human Machine Interfaces (HMI).

In order to deliver an effective response to the emergence of asymmetric threats, and particularly mini-drone attacks on deployed ground-to-air assets or other military assets inside the protected zone, Licorne can now also deploy anti-drone measures, and co-ordinate them with the traditional air defence assets.

To achieve this, MBDA has supplemented its C2 with a set of data link detectors and jammers originally developed to provide security for events or prisons, which have been adapted to military needs. For detection, Licorne uses a mobile radio frequency detection unit produced by Cerbair to intercept mini-drone data link transmissions. Once the threat has been detected and located, Licorne allows operators to activate countermeasures using a network of field-deployed jammers developed by KEAS.

Licorne’s scalable architecture is designed to enable the system to provide a first level of co-ordination for the VSHORAD systems used by rapid reaction forces, airborne units and amphibious units. Licorne provides surveillance, detection and identification functions with a high level of connectivity. It can be used in association with passive infrared 360° surveillance sensors, lightweight radars or Electronic Support Measurements (ESM) and acoustic sensors. Pocket C2 Licorne provides all the functions expected of a C2, including multisensor data fusion; real-time ranging; shared tactical position calculation; and even uploading battery sensor images to upper command levels using standard NATO military data link protocols such as the Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol C (JREAP-C).

Sea Venom

MBDA’s Sea Venom/ANL (Anti-Navire Léger) missile has successfully completed its second development firing from a French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA – Direction Générale de l’Armement) Panther test helicopter at Ile Du Levant in southeast France.

Sea Venom/ANL is part of an Anglo-French programme linked to the Lancaster House treaty
Sea Venom/ANL is part of an Anglo-French programme linked to the Lancaster House treaty

The firing, which took place on 18 April 2018, highlighted Sea Venom/ANL’s Lock On After Launch (LOAL) capabilities. It also validated its aptitude for low-altitude, sea-skimming flight, the effectiveness of the data link between the missile and helicopter and Sea Venom/ANL’s autonomous guidance capability, using images from its infrared seeker.

Guto Bebb, UK Minister for Defence Procurement, said: «Sea Venom is yet another weapon that will help our Royal Navy keep the United Kingdom safe amid intensifying global threats. The lightweight subsonic sea-skimming missile, which will equip our Wildcat helicopters, will add to our Navy’s impressive capabilities while at sea and ensure they remain equipped to face every eventuality. The test firing partnership between France and the United Kingdom is also another fantastic display of the two nations working together to protect global waters».

Frank Bastart, head of the Sea Venom/ANL programme at MBDA said: «We’re delighted that the second development firing of Sea Venom/ANL was a complete success. We have now tested a range of the missile’s capabilities and it has performed to the very edge of its operational envelope, which is testament to the hard work and skills of our development and production teams in conjunction with DGA. This is a significant milestone in the development of the missile and when it enters service Sea Venom/ANL will provide a major increase in capability to the UK and French navies».

Sea Venom/ANL is part of an Anglo-French programme linked to the Lancaster House treaty agreed between the UK and France in November 2010 and possesses a «fire and forget» mode along with ‘operator above the loop’ capability to maintain control over the entire missile trajectory. It has been designed for use from the widest range of platforms; in UK service the missile will be used from the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, while France will operate the missile from its future Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger). The missile is designed to enable the helicopters of both countries’ navies to deal with a range of threats including fast moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets.

MBDA was awarded the production contract for Sea Venom/ANL in March 2014. The joint programme is the first to take full advantage of mutual dependency arrangements agreed under the ‘One Complex Weapons’ initiative designed to consolidate the Anglo-French missile industry around MBDA.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 110 kg/242.5 lbs.
Length 2.5 m/8.2 feet
Diameter 200 mm/7.87 inches
Speed High subsonic
Range over 20 km/12.4 miles/10.8 NM
Warhead 30 kg/66 lbs. class anti-ship

 

CAMM interceptor

MBDA’s Land Ceptor air defence system has successfully destroyed its target during an end-to-end system demonstration firing at the Vidsel Test Range in Sweden, an important milestone for the project prior to entry to service with the British Army.

Land Ceptor on target in latest success for MBDA’s CAMM interceptor
Land Ceptor on target in latest success for MBDA’s CAMM interceptor

Land Ceptor utilises the proven Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) currently in production and delivering a common stockpile to meet the air defence needs of both the British Army and the Royal Navy (as Sea Ceptor). In British Army service Land Ceptor will replace the current Rapier air defence system and provides a step-change in capability, including over triple the range and the ability to intercept a much more challenging target set.

The system demonstration trial showcased the maturity of the Land Ceptor system across a full engagement sequence. This included launcher deployment; munition loading; receipt of air tracks from a Giraffe-AMB radar; air track processing by Land Ceptor’s onboard Command and Control (C2) system; and execution of a full engagement chain, with two-way data exchange with the missile during its mid-course fly-out phase, and successful interception and destruction of a target using the missile’s seeker in the terminal phase.

Land Ceptor with CAMM is the latest generation of air defence system, providing exceptional capability from very short ranges (VSHORAD) below 1 km/3,281 feet into the Medium Range Air Defence (MRAD) tier beyond 25 km/15.5 miles. Key features of CAMM are its next generation solid-state active radar seeker, two-way data-link, low-signature rocket motor and its 360° soft-vertical launch system. These combine to enable the missile to rapidly intercept the most challenging and dangerous of threats including saturation attacks from precision guided munitions and manoeuvring high-speed missiles emerging late from low altitude and from multiple directions simultaneously.

The demonstration in Vidsel coincides with the transition into production of the Land Ceptor weapon system, which will now undergo system-of-system integration and test as part of the British Army’s Sky Sabre air defence architecture. It is the latest in a series of highly successful trials of CAMM and its related systems over several years that have consistently proven its maturity and game changing performance.

 

About CAMM family of missile systems

The Royal Navy has recently conducted a large set of service acceptance trials of its related Sea Ceptor system. Sea Ceptor, which uses the same CAMM interceptor, has been introduced into service to replace the Vertical Launch Seawolf system on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The Sea Ceptor system provides a major step-change in capability for the Royal Navy’s frigates, as they will

gain the ability to protect other ships within their local area, in addition to having an excellent self-defense capability. Sea Ceptor will also be fitted to the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 and Type 31e frigates.

Land Ceptor is the UK launch configuration of the Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS) product family. 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 has been designed for ease of integration with existing equipment and infrastructure through modular design and use of standard interfaces. CAMM is a family of missiles that includes CAMM-ER (Extended Range) which shares all the same components as CAMM other than a larger rocket motor to extend its range out to beyond 40 km/25 miles.

Sea Ceptor

Sea Ceptor provides a powerful shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles, and has been developed and manufactured through Ministry of Defence contracts worth around £850m.

Developed by MBDA, the Sea Ceptor naval air-defense missile system has already been fired from three upgraded Type 23 frigates and was officially declared to have entered service by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (UK MoD photo)
Developed by MBDA, the Sea Ceptor naval air-defense missile system has already been fired from three upgraded Type 23 frigates and was officially declared to have entered service by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (UK MoD photo)

It will be carried by the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates and has been successfully demonstrated through a trials and test firing campaign that started last year. Most recently, Plymouth-based HMS Montrose (F236) became the third ship to test fire the system.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: «Sea Ceptor will protect our nation against the intensifying threats we face today and, in the future, giving our ships a powerful shield against everything from supersonic missiles to enemy fighter jets. Fitting our warships with this ground-breaking technology not only protects our Navy but shows we are world leaders at sea. HMS Argyll (F231) will be the first ship to deploy with this cutting-edge system when she heads to support peace and security in the Asia Pacific region later this year».

The announcement, made at the RUSI Sea Power Conference in London, follows detailed analysis of data gathered during the first of class firing trials by HMS Argyll (F231), which took place last year. HMS Westminster (F237) and HMS Montrose (F236), the second and third ships to be fitted with Sea Ceptor, have since also carried out successful firings.

Sea Ceptor has been designed and manufactured by MBDA and is directly supporting 600 jobs in Bristol, Stevenage and Bolton as part of the Team Complex Weapons partnering agreement between MOD and MBDA. The first firings of Sea Ceptor were conducted from HMS Argyll (F231) at the Hebrides range off the coast of Scotland and saw the system tested against a range of complex scenarios – including engaging multiple targets at once. Sea Ceptor is a major improvement on the existing Seawolf missile system which is being replaced. It offers improved performance against current and projected future threats, the ability to engage multiple targets, and allows the frigates to protect escorted vessels. The system is to be fitted to the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates.

Richard Smart, Director Weapons for the MOD’s procurement organisation Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), said: «Sea Ceptor’s entry into service with the Royal Navy is a significant milestone, a massive achievement for everyone involved and a proud moment for the team. It’s really exciting to be delivering a new capability that will form part of the protection for the new aircraft carriers and will help to keep our service personnel and our country safe».

Recently, HMS Montrose (F236) took part in the third test firing of the system and successfully intercepted a fast-moving drone target. Within seconds of the missile bursting from the ship’s silo, the simulated threat was destroyed.

Commander Conor O’Neill, the Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose (F236), said: «The test firing we carried out represents the successful culmination of a great deal of hard work by many people from Babcock, the Short Range Air Defence team, DE&S, MBDA and the Royal Navy. I am extremely proud of my ship’s company for their professional attitude which enabled the test firing to go so smoothly. This missile system represents a vastly-improved capability for the Royal Navy and puts us ahead of the game in being able to defend ourselves and our new aircraft carriers from threat».

3-cell ExLS Launcher

MBDA and Lockheed Martin have jointly completed qualification of MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) from Lockheed Martin’s Extensible Launching System (ExLS) 3-Cell Stand Alone Launcher following a series of trials.

When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell
When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell

ExLS is a low-cost alternative for integrating new missiles and munitions into naval surface combatants leveraging Lockheed Martin’s proven Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) design and electronics.

The compact vertical launch 3-cell ExLS system is specifically designed for smaller naval platforms that are unable to accommodate the larger 8-cell MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). ExLS has also been designed to fit inside the MK 41 launcher (i.e. ExLS Host), offering flexible, adaptable installation solutions for larger ships to achieve high combat mass within a small on-board footprint.

MBDA’s CAMM is a highly compact missile that enables multiple weapons to be fitted in limited spaces. It is the most modern air defence missile of its class on the market and has recently completed a highly successful series of firings by the Royal Navy. When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell. These latest trials from 3-cell ExLS were successfully completed in the United Kingdom at the end of 2017.

«The success of these trials is testament to the hard work and close co-operation of the MBDA and Lockheed Martin», said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small combatants and ship systems. «A launcher within a launcher, ExLS uses CAMM canistered munitions with its qualified launch electronics to cut integration costs by more than 50 percent. It is a mature design that when paired with CAMM offers a low-cost alternative for integrating new missiles and munitions into current and future surface combatants».

Paul Mead, Head of Business Development at MBDA, said: «These trials have further demonstrated the maturity, reliability and safety of the CAMM vertical launch system from both 3-cell ExLS and ExLS Host/MK 41 and follows the highly successful operational trials of CAMM by the Royal Navy in 2017. The pairing of CAMM with the 3-cell ExLS launcher is a natural choice, providing a flexible launcher solution available now for naval platforms to take advantage of the high-performance air defence capabilities and compact size of CAMM with ExLS. Other MBDA weapon systems, compatible with ExLS, are planned for the future».

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.