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.
Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Iomax USA (Chalet A132) has chosen the Paris Air Show to launch its ArchAngel border-patrol aircraft. The ArchAngel has a wide variety of sensor and weapon options available and offers customers a low-cost but highly effective platform for a range of ISR and light attack missions. ArchAngel is in many ways an evolution from the Air Tractor AT-802U armed agricultural aircraft that was previously displayed at Le Bourget. However, much has changed since then.
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are moving forward with competing solutions for the guidance section of a future joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) under a continued technology development (CTD) phase. Restructured in response to reduced funding, the Army-led effort will initially focus on the missile’s front-end guidance section, leaving the warhead, motor and control actuation to a later phase.
A new inter-governmental treaty to be signed in 2013 or 2014 will enhance Anglo-French cooperation on missile development, said Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA. The company has responded to the moves by London and Paris to share defense costs and capabilities with a proposal to create “centers of excellence” that will rationalize the development of new weapons. Bouvier explained that although MBDA is a multinational company, only specific programs such as the Meteor air-to-air missile and the Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missile are currently developed cooperatively across national boundaries.
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.