Paris Air Show

MBDA Launches Glide Weapon Family

 - June 19, 2017, 7:29 AM

MBDA has launched a new family of glide weapons that should become available by 2025 at the latest. Known as SmartGlider, the weapons family is intended to fill the cost/capability gap between large cruise missiles and the weapons that employ wing/guidance kits fitted to standard free-fall bombs.

Drawing on experience that MBDA (Static Display A10) has gained with the Storm Shadow/Scalp cruise missile, the SmartGlider weapons will feature fold-out wings offering a high lift-to-drag ratio to permit engagement ranges of greater than 100 km (62 miles). This provides the launch platform with a good measure of standoff capability, reducing its vulnerability to defences. The SmartGlider has advanced navigation/guidance systems, and will employ both optronic and radio frequency sensors to minimize its susceptibly to anti-access measures.

MBDA has outlined two weapons in the family at either end of the size scale. SmartGlider Heavy has a multi-purpose warhead of more than 1,000 kg (2,204 lb) optimized for attacking large and hardened targets. SmartGlider Light is a 120-kg (265-lb) weapon that can be carried on the Hexabomb Smart Launcher that permits the carriage of 12 to 18 weapons by a single aircraft. They could be launched in swarms to saturate defenses in a “first-day” scenario, as well as singly against a wide variety of targets.