Tag Archives: MBDA

AKERON

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.

AKERON
AKERON, the new unique family of fifth-generation combat weapons

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.

Ballistic Missile Defence

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.

Aster 30 Block 1
Type 45 Ballistic Missile Defence upgrade to support more than 100 UK jobs

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».

Final test firing

MBDA’s new Marte Extended Range (ER) anti-ship missile successfully completed its final test firing at the end of November 2021.

Marte ER
MBDA’s Marte ER has successful final test firing

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.

Type 45 destroyers

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.

CAMM
MBDA’s CAMM to strengthen Air Defence capability of Royal Navy 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.

Air defence missile

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.

CAMM-ER
MBDA’s CAMM-ER successfully completes major milestone

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.

MMP from a Jaguar

On 14 April, MBDA and Nexter participated in the first lock-on firing of an MMP medium-range missile from a Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle (EBRC). The French defence procurement agency (DGA) carried out the firing at their Land Techniques Test Centre as part of the JAGUAR qualification. Launched from the retractable pod on the Jaguar’s turret in two-missile configuration, the MMP successfully hit its target.

MMP
First firing of MMP from a Jaguar armoured vehicle

 

The integration of MMP onto JAGUAR is being carried out in stages during qualification. This firing is the first stage, successfully demonstrating hitting a fixed target. The system will offer the capability to destroy fixed or mobile hardened land targets, including up to the latest generation of tanks. Targeting will be direct or beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS). It will also be precise and with minimal collateral damage, qualities that characterise the MMP.

MMP’s capabilities – integrated into the Jaguar’s turret by Nexter, alongside the remote controlled weapon station developed by Arquus, the Scorpion common vetronics solution developed by Thales and the 40mm cannon developed by CTAI – gives the Jaguar a key role in collaborative combat.

During this demonstration, the Optrolead PASEO battlefield surveillance sight interfaced with the missile system, offering real-time optronic acquisition by day and by night. This gives the Jaguar excellent long-range observation and identification capabilities.

Frédéric Michaud, Head of Battlefield Sector for Sales & Business Development at MBDA, said: «This firing marks an important first step of the work conducted with Nexter to develop the Jaguar turret and integrate the MMP into a weapon system built on the latest technological solutions. This two-missile turret configuration considerably expands the vehicle’s firepower».

David Marquette, Jaguar project manager at Nexter, hailed the exceptional work of the programme team on this critically important system integration project: «This marks a major milestone, demonstrating the technical skills of our teams in designing and developing an operational capability unlike any other in the world».

Teseo Evolved

MBDA will provide the Italian Navy with the new Teseo Evolved Weapon System, namely Teseo Mk2/E. This new generation system builds on the legacy Teseo family, known worldwide as OTOMAT, and will bring a substantial improvement in anti-ship capabilities. Teseo Mk2/E will efficiently engage both sea and land targets at very long range, with full mission control throughout the missile flight. The system will have an innovative integrated mission planning and a new RF seeker, with options for additional features and capabilities in the future.

Teseo Mk2/E
MBDA to supply new Teseo Mk2/E anti-ship system to Italian Navy

Teseo Mk2/E is the answer to evolving threats that generate the need to evolve operational requirements. This solution is the result of joint MBDA and Italian Navy technical and programme activities over the past three years that matured the concept of this advanced system.

The Teseo Mk2/E missile system will equip the next generation destroyer (DDX) and could replace the previous Mk2/A version onboard FREMM and Horizon class frigates. The new multi-purpose Offshore Patrol Vessels (PPA – Pattugliatori Polivalenti d’Altura), currently in production, are already fit for Teseo Mk2/E installation in future. In the anti-ship weapon market Teseo Mk2/E will represent a new standard with its very high performance, and will be ready to be tailored for international requirements.

Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, declared: «I want here to give a special thanks to Italian Navy, governmental and all MBDA teams who worked hard, also against all disruptions created by the pandemic, to bring this important contract to life. MBDA Group considers Teseo Mk2/E as a major programme and will be fully committed to the successful outcome of this new development. The new Teseo Mk2/E builds on a product line that is well recognised around the world and will support long into the future, the attractiveness of our naval products on export markets».

Lorenzo Mariani, Executive Group Director Sales and Business Development and Managing Director MBDA Italia, declared: «The Teseo Mk2/E has been defined and designed thanks to an intense collaboration between the Italian Navy and MBDA. This new anti-ship missile will mark a step change in the OTOMAT/Teseo family, keep up with ever evolving threats and feature advanced functions to support the Italian Navy operations that will significantly increase the flexibility and operational value of the Italian Navy surface ships that will be equipped with it. This contract will also help sustain high level skills in a domain of excellence of the Italian defence industry and will contribute to guarantee the sustainability of our company and its suppliers, as well as its Italian employment levels in the years to come».

Albatros NG

MBDA has been awarded a first contract for Albatros Next Generation (NG), a brand new Common Anti-Air Modular Missile Extended Range (CAMM-ER) based air defence system. This first order, from an undisclosed international customer, marks a further validation of the wide appeal of the CAMM air defence family on the global marketplace and paves the way to further acquisitions by the same customer and other Navies.

Albatros NG
MBDA awarded first contract for its new Albatros NG system

Albatros NG is a new generation Naval Based Air Defence (NBAD) system, based on the CAMM-ER, which is the extended range variant of the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family already delivered to customers around the world for both ground based and naval air defence.

Under the terms of this recent order, Albatros NG will be in service in 2024.

Albatros NG, deriving its name from the legacy Albatros systems which have been in service with the Italian Navy and several export customers for years, is suitable for different kinds of vessels providing air defence capability for platforms ranging from patrol vessels and corvettes to destroyers. It also allows a complementary layer for larger vessels such as frigates and destroyers already equipped with a long range air defence system. It can be easily integrated, without significant changes, in the ships’ design; its Command & Control (C2) is designed to enable flexible integration with both new and existing naval Combat Management Systems (CMS).

The CAMM-ER missile is capable of providing self and local area defence against the evolving airborne threat at ranges exceeding 40 km/25 miles; it will be integrated in the new ground based air defence systems for the Italian Army and Italian Air Force. CAMM family systems have already been delivered to the British Army, to the Royal Navy and to several export nations.

Air defence systems utilising the CAMM and CAMM-ER missiles can provide armed forces with advanced protection against the ever-evolving air threat, including manned and unmanned aircraft, precision guided munitions, terrain-following/sea-skimming missiles, and low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets; all in the presence of the latest countermeasures.

MICA New Generation

MBDA has been awarded a contract from the Egyptian Navy for the VL MICA NG (Missile d’Interception, de Combat et d’Auto-défense New Generation) air defence system to equip its Egyptian corvettes.

VL MICA NG
Egypt becomes the first international customer for MBDA’s VL MICA New Generation surface-to-air system

Officially launched in October 2020, the VL MICA NG system is based on the integration of the MICA NG missile into the existing VL MICA point and close area air defence system.

The VL MICA NG system offers improved capabilities to handle atypical targets (UAVs, small aircraft), as well as future threats characterised by increasingly low observable infrared and radio frequency signatures. Additionally, VL MICA NG will be able to intercept ‘conventional’ targets (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles) at longer distances.

Eric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: «This agreement proves the confidence of our Egyptian customer in our VL MICA family, which 15 armed forces around the world already use for the protection of their naval and land forces».

The Egyptian Navy already equips its four Gowind class corvettes, recently procured from the French Naval Group shipyards, with systems from the VL MICA family.

Laser system

Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded a consortium, or ARGE, consisting of MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH a contract to fabricate, integrate and support testing of a laser weapon demonstrator in the maritime environment. The order value is in the low double-digit million euro range.

Laser system
MBDA and Rheinmetall win contract for high-energy laser system

Work will be shared out on a roughly equal basis. MBDA Deutschland is responsible for tracking, the operator’s console and linking the laser weapon demonstrator to the command-and-control system. Rheinmetall is in charge of the laser weapon station, the beam guiding system, cooling, and integration of the laser weapon system into the project container of the laser source demonstrator.

The demonstrator is to be fabricated, tested and integrated by the end of the 2021. Trials onboard the German Navy frigate F124 Sachsen are to take place in 2022.

As Doris Laarmann, head of laser business development at MBDA Deutschland, notes, «The contract is an important step on the path to an operational high-energy laser system. Our two companies will apply their respective strengths to make this project a success on behalf of the German Navy. Once it’s installed, the demonstrator will also be used to test important aspects such as the interaction and function of the sensor suite, combat management system and effector as well as rules of engagement».

Alexander Graf, head of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition’s laser weapons programme, and Dr Markus Jung, who leads the company’s laser weapon development effort, both agree, adding that «The contract marks a systematic extension of the functional prototype laser weapon successfully tested in recent years, with the experience gained now dovetailing into one of the most ambitious projects in the field of laser weapon development in Europe».

A breakthrough development in the history of defence technology, lasers engage targets at the speed of light, operating with great precision and producing very little collateral damage. A demonstrator system featuring these capabilities will soon be put to the test under highly realistic operating conditions onboard a German frigate.