Singapore is buying Thales Raytheon Systems GroundMaster 200 radars, adding to an already-extensive ground-based air defense (GBAD) line-up of systems. A development radar, mounted on a Man 8 x 8 truck, was on display in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) static display at the Singapore Airshow this week. The nearby RSAF pavilion contained graphics that confirmed the island state’s purchase of MBDA Aster 30 air defense missiles.
MBDA reported a series of successful firings earlier this month of the Brimstone 2 air-surface missile being developed for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). The new version of the 100-pound-class, low-collateral-damage weapon adds a laser to the original millimeter-wave (MMW) radar guidance system. The missile will be carried by RAF Tornados and, later, Typhoons and F-35s. MBDA is promoting the Brimstone for other platforms, including UAVs such as the Predator/Reaper series.
MBDA Missile Systems (Chalet B165) said it carried out the first surface-to-surface salvo engagement of multiple fast-attack vessels with its Brimstone Sea Spear missile, equipped with a millimetric-wave radar seeker.
MBDA Germany is claiming a world’s first in the development of high-energy laser weapons after coupling together four commercially available 10kW-industrial lasers to achieve a 40kW weapon that can intercept and destroy incoming rockets, artillery and mortars (RAM). Small aerial vehicles, such as UAVs, are also on MBDA’s target list, but the company says power supply challenges still preclude adding lasers to aircraft for defensive purposes.
Speaking prior to the Paris Air Show, Antoine Bouvier, CEO of European missile house MBDA, said, “2012 was an excellent year in terms of performance but it was a year of contrast for order intake. It was our best ever year for export, but the domestic market fell short, especially in France.” Leading those good export figures was a sizeable sale of MICA air-to-air missiles to India to support a Mirage 2000 upgrade program.
On display here and ready for export, Europe’s own state-of-the-art air defense system has now demonstrated its anti-tactical ballistic missile (TBM) capability three times. In the most recent test two months ago, the MBDA Aster 30 missile successfully intercepted a target representing a TBM fired from 185 miles away. Unlike the first two anti-TBM tests, this one was fully coordinated within the NATO command-and-control structure.
MBDA has confirmed that production rounds of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile are scheduled for delivery before year-end. However, MBDA managing director Steve Wadey would not disclose which air force will be the first to get the new missile, which MBDA UK claims represents a “step change in the air-to-air world.” AIN reported last year that French Rafale and Swedish Gripen fighters would be flying operational Meteors ahead of the four Eurofighter nations.
MBDA Deutschland conducted three firing trials of its PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget precision missile in late April as part of its campaign to sell the weapon to India. Performed at the Vidsel range in Sweden, the test firings were undertaken from a German Eurocopter Tiger UHT helicopter, for which PARS 3 LR has been selected by the German army.
MBDA is stepping up efforts to consolidate Europe’s missile industry, on the back of last November’s Anglo-French Defence Declaration. This pact nominated the company–already a four-nation European industrial combine owned by BAE Systems (37.5 percent), EADS (37.5 percent) and Finmeccanica (25 percent)–as “a test case” for further integration, according to CEO Antoine Bouvier.
Future British requirements for missiles and other guided weapons seem likely to be met by a partnership sealed here yesterday. Four companies and the UK Ministry of Defence teamed up for a £74 million ($145 million) assessment phase over the next year. The companies in “Team Complex Weapons” are MBDA, QinetiQ, Roxel and Thales.
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