MBDA unveils its strategy in the FCAS program

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The European group MBDA, specialist in missiles and guided munitions, unveiled, at the 2019 Paris Air Show, its roadmap for the FCAS program. This is based on existing programs, others and development, in line with changes in the reality of the battlefield to come.

Firstly, the group will continue to develop the European METEOR missile, presented as being “the best in the world” today, and which will evolve to maintain this advantage over the years. For the penetration of spaces in denial of access, MBDA places emphasis on cruise missiles, designed for this mission, and opening up spaces allowing allied air power to develop its power. We naturally think of the FMC/FMAN program for Future Cruise Missile/Future Anti-Ship Missile, in joint development between France and Great Britain, to replace the SCALP/Storm Shadow missiles and the Exocet/Harpoon missiles.

For the treatment of tactical targets, the group aims to develop standoff systems (fired from a safe distance), precise and capable of communicating and acting in concert, in the form of a swarm, to overcome defense systems by saturation. Here again, this description is reminiscent of the SMARTGLIDER, developed by the industrialist. This type of armament will be implemented in particular by the Remote Carriers of the FCAS program, combat drones acting as power multipliers available to piloted aircraft, both to acquire information, carry out attacks, or jam opposing sensors, without exposing the drivers.

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MBDA Smartglide on Rafale Defense News | Fighter aircraft | Guided bombs
The SmartGlider lightweight intelligent guided bomb developed by MBDA

Finally, and more unexpectedly, MBDA mentions Hard-Kill systems, the aim of which will be the ultimate protection of aircraft against missiles, when decoys and jamming systems have not managed to ward off the threat. No details are given on this system. The United States is developing a system with comparable functionality using a high-energy laser, the SHIELD project.

It is interesting to note that all the systems will have to equip not only the FCAS, but also the Rafale et Typhoon, which will have to “hold the line” until 2040. As such, the development of the “Remote Carrier” solution upstream of the NGF (New Generation Fighter), so as to maintain the strike and suppression capabilities of defenses European air forces, appears to be a necessity.

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