Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: MBDA lifts wraps on new missile concept

 - June 21, 2011, 9:10 PM


Multi-national missile developer and manufacturer Yesterday MBDA showed off the results of its second concept- visions initiative--–, the CVS 401 Perseus maritime strike missile--–eyesterday at the Paris Air Show.


The company launched Concept visionsthe initiative was launched by the company to “inspire engineers, customers and suppliers to shape the missile systems market for 2030 and beyond,” according to Steve Wadey, MBDA’s executive group technical director and UK managing director. The first campaign looked at dismounted soldiers operating in urban environments, resulting which resulted in the Sniper and Enforcer missile concepts., and Tthis year’s program has studied maritime strike challenges.


Perseus is the result, .


It is a concept for the kind of missile that would be required in maritime launch scenarios, including anti-ship attacks and a variety of likely overland/coastal targets. It is seen as a potential replacement for Exocet-class anti-ship missiles, and also for stand-off land attack weapons such as Scalp/Storm Shadow.

Developed after consultation with the Royal Navy and Marine Nationale, Perseus is a stealthy, high-speed weapon with high agility to defeat the projected air defenses of the future.  It is sized at less than 5 five meters (16.5 feet) in length and under 800 kilograms (1,600 pounds) in weight, and is envisaged for vertical launch from surface combatants, tube launch from submarines and, of course, air launch from aircraft.

Perseus also is envisaged as a 300-kilometer (160-nm) range weapon, with a speed of around Mach 3 for high-altitude transit and high-angle maneuvering attacks against targets in their vulnerable cone. Alternatively, the missile can fly a low-level sea-skimming profile at Mach 2-plus. Providing that level of performance will be a revolutionary new continuous- detonation, wave engine (CDWE) ramjet.

Sensors will be built around a multi-mode active e-scan radar with synthetic aperture and Doppler beam sharpening, and a laser radar (ladar) for terminal phase imaging and target recognition. The missile will also include a semi-active laser guidance capability that MBDA believes will remain important for time-sensitive targeting. A satellite datalink will be incorporated, using thin-profile active antenna arrays.

One innovative area of the concept is the warhead design. The missile will have a single main warhead of around 200 kilograms (440 pounds), but can also release two 40-kilogram (88-pound) inertially -guided effectors from lateral bays, each of which will be provided with individual target co-ordinates by the main missile as it nears impact. The three separate warheads allow a wide spread to be achieved for some targets, but if a unitary blast is required, then the effectors remain on board the missile to add their blast effect to the central warhead.

Perseus has reached an advanced concept stage thanks to the work of a nine-person team within various MBDA design offices. The company suggests a likely development time of 15 to 20 years for Perseus, with the CDWE motor being one of the critical technologies. Nevertheless, Wadey believes strongly that “there are emerging markets for this type of weapon.”