MBDA & Thales: Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ments

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - News -

A new laser weapon demon­stra­tor be­ing built for the UK Min­istry of De­fence has been un­veiled. Led by MBDA, un­der con­tract to Dstl, UK Dragon­fire is a group­ing of Bri­tish in­dus­try brought to­gether to de­velop this ad­vanced and com­plex new pro­gramme for the UK Armed Forces. The con­sor­tium has re­vealed de­sign of the tur­ret – known as a beam di­rec­tor – that will be used to test this new tech­nol­ogy. The beam di­rec­tor, which will be pro­vided by Leonardo, brings to­gether QinetiQ’s pow­er­ful laser emit­ter, as well as elec­tro-op­tics for tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and track­ing. MBDA is bring­ing prime weapon sys­tem de­liv­ery ex­pe­ri­ence and ad­vanced weapon sys­tem com­mand and con­trol ( C2) and im­age pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ity to UK Dragon­fire, in ad­di­tion to co-or­di­nat­ing the over­all pro­gramme.

Known as the Laser Di­rected En­ergy Weapon ( LDEW) Ca­pa­bil­ity Demon­stra­tor Pro­gramme ( CDP), the ef­fort will see UK Dragon­fire test this new sov­er­eign ca­pa­bil­ity in the mar­itime and land do­mains in 2019. Among the uses of LDEW sys­tems are pro­vid­ing very short-range air de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity, clo­sein pro­tec­tion for naval ves­sels, counter- un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle ( UAV), and pro­tect­ing friendly forces from mor­tar and ar­tillery at­tack. France’s de­fence pro­cure­ment agency, the Di­rec­tion Générale de l’Arme­ment (DGA), has ac­cepted de­liv­ery to the French Armed Forces of the first batch of 50 mis­siles and 20 fir­ing posts from the new MMP sys­tem, con­ducted be­tween 15-23 Novem­ber 2017. The Royal Navy has suc­cess­fully con­ducted the fi­nal First of Class fir­ing tri­als of the new Sea Cep­tor air de­fence sys­tem – com­plet­ing the qual­i­fi­ca­tion fir­ings of this cut­ting-edge new ca­pa­bil­ity for the Royal Navy. Fol­low­ing the first round of tri­als in the sum­mer of 2017, the sec­ond set of tri­als from HMS Ar­gyll saw the sys­tem tested against more com­plex sce­nar­ios, in­clud­ing rapidly en­gag­ing mul­ti­ple si­mul­ta­ne­ous threats. With HMS Ar­gyll hav­ing com­pleted de­vel­op­ment test­ing of Sea Cep­tor, the weapon sys­tem is now be­ing rolled out to the Royal Navy’s other Type 23 Fri­gates. The first of a se­ries of in­stal­la­tion test fir­ings has been suc­cess­fully com­pleted on HMS West­min­ster. Each Sea Cep­tor plat­form will sim­i­larly com­plete an in­stal­la­tion test fir­ing in due course as they pre­pare to re-join front­line ser­vice af­ter their re­fits.

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