MBDA and Milrem Robotics are showcasing the world’s first anti-tank Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) at IDEX 2019, the main defence industry event in the MENA region. The debut of the system’s advanced concept comes only eight months after Milrem Robotics and MBDA announced the start of feasibility studies of the system.
The joint project integrates the Milrem Robotics THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle with the MBDA IMPACT (Integrated MMP Precision Attack Combat Turret) system fitted with two MMP 5th generation battlefield engagement missiles and a self-defence machine gun. «This combination of two of the most modern technologies in their field is a very good example how robotic warfare systems will bring disruption to the battlefield and make some traditional technologies obsolete», said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. «Our unmanned land combat system under study together with MBDA will be very efficient in keeping our troops safe and significantly increasing the capability to fight main battle tanks as well as any other ground target», Väärsi added.
The land combat warfare system is intended to be remotely operated. Soldiers can deploy it while remaining at a safe distance and using a wireless or a tethered connection. The system will have a low heat and noise signature so it can stay unnoticed until completing its mission.
«Being delivered to the French Army since the end of 2017, the MMP system is now deployed by the French forces in theatre, where it replaces the Milan and Javelin missiles. With fully digitalized functions of observation, targeting, positioning and guidance, the MMP system is perfectly suited for integration on vehicles, including remotely operated ones», said Francis Bordachar, Military Advisor Land Products at MBDA.
The French Defence Procurement Agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement) successfully carried out the first firing of MMP (Missile de Moyenne Portée or Medium Range Missile), the successor to the Milan weapon system. Carried out at the DGA Techniques Terrestres site in Bourges (central France), the firing test served to confirm MMP’s excellent accuracy in locking onto a target at a distance of more than 4,000 m and that was hidden from view at launch. This success is the result of the coordinated efforts of both state (DGA and French Army) and industrial (MBDA France) participants.
MMP is a high technology, new generation missile forming one of the French MoD’s (Ministry of Defence) new programmes within the Military Planning Act 2014-2019 aimed at modernising the French Army.
This versatile missile, conceived by MBDA France, is currently in its development phase following the notification of a development contract by the DGA on 3rd December 2013. It will enable the armed forces to neutralise, with a high level of precision, the many different types of target that might be confronted during operations, ensuring that collateral damage is kept to a minimum and at the same time maximizing the safety of the operator. The delivery date of the system to the French Army is scheduled for 2017. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, in total the army has ordered 2,850 missiles and 400 firing posts from MBDA, with the missile not only intended to arm infantry personnel but also intended to be vehicle-launched from platforms such as the army’s upcoming Jaguar 6×6 reconnaissance vehicle.
Further test firings have already been programmed by the DGA Techniques Terrestres to take place during the first quarter of 2015.
MMP (Missile de Moyenne Portée)
MBDA is currently developing MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée), the medium range, ground combat as a successor to MILAN (the eponymous anti-tank system supplied to over 40 armies around the world). MMP is a fifth generation weapon system responding to the requirements outlined within the French Army’s FELIN and SCORPION programmes. FELIN is a programme aimed at developing the necessary equipment for the French infantryman of the future while SCORPION will advance the integration and coordination of the range of equipment deployed by future French ground forces, calling for wide-ranging digitisation and platform interoperability. In this respect, MMP is also relevant to other ground forces around the world that are in the process of preparing for the requirements of the battlefield well into the future.
MMP’s entirely new concept takes into consideration the experience gained from recent conflicts, where the need to master the delivery of military effects without collateral damage has been shown to be a major operational requirement.
MMP is man portable (the missile in its tube weighs only 15 kg), easy to set up and operate by a two-man team. It is the ideal combat support weapon for the modern soldier who might be called upon to fight either out in the open battlefield or from confined spaces within a complex urban environment. The system can be used either in conjunction with a lightweight, portable digital firing post (weighing only 11 kg, battery included) or alternatively, mounted on a typical armoured vehicle.
Its shaped tandem warhead (MMP features a unique selectable charge depending on the intended target) provides lethality at ranges of up to 4 km against a wide range of stationary or moving ground targets from bunkers and machine gun posts to tanks equipped with the latest Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA).
Equipped with a non-cooled, dual-mode visible/infrared seeker, MMP is able to engage both hot and cold targets. To ensure operator survivability, MMP’s «fire-and-forget» capability allows the operator to fire and disengage immediately without having to wait for the missile to strike its intended target. However, in a complex environment where collateral damage is a concern, MMP’s optic fibre link enables MITL (Man-In-The-Loop) operation.
Combined with a navigation function integrated within the missile, the optical link via the missile allows for a full NLOS (Non Line Of Sight) operation as well, a function further enhanced within a modern info-centric environment. These are the features that combine to create a true 5th generation combat support weapon.
MMP represents the first missile within a family of ground and air-platform launched surface combat missiles. These missiles will share not only the same airframe diameter but also significant elements of technology in line with MBDA’s GMA (General Missile Architecture) strategy, a strategy aimed at reducing both cost and development risk.
Lightweight weapon system, easily man-portable
High level of day and night, all-weather reconnaissance and identification capability
Lethality against a wide target set: hot and cold targets, including latest MBTs (Main Battle Tanks)
Collateral damage risk minimization
Dual-band seeker (uncooled IR and TV channel)
MEMS IMU (MicroElectroMechanical Systems Inertial Measurement Unit) for inertial navigation
Two-stage main propulsion system (soft launch)
Multipurpose tandem warhead capable of defeating 1,000 mm of RHA (Rolled Homogeneous Armour), 2,000 mm of concrete
MMP interactive firing post
Latest generation IR band 2 and day camera
Laser range finder
GPS and magnetic compass
Autonomous operation and NCW (Network-Centric Waveform) compatible
Modular to facilitate integration on combat vehicles
MMP training simulators
Gunnery training simulator for indoor training
Combat firing simulator for technical firing instruction and tactical training in the field
Range: 4,000 m
Real time data-link
Three operating modes:
Man-In-The-Loop with fibre-optic data-link;
Lock-On-After-Launch (NLOS and using third party target coordinates).
Weight (incl. tube): 15 kg
Length: 1.3 m in tactical canister
Diameter: 140 mm
Range: 4,000 m
Real time data-link (fibre-optic)
Interactive firing post:
Weight (incl. tripod and battery): 11 kg;
Autonomous with battery or can be connected to external power sources.
The latest (fifth) generation land combat missile system designed for dismounted infantry as well as for integration on combat vehicles. Featuring both fire-and-forget and man-in-the-loop operation, network-enabled MMP also receives third party target coordinates for indirect firing scenarios. MMP’s design includes the growth potential necessary for a future family of missiles for modern land combat.