MBDA has started integration tests with MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée – Medium Range Missile) which the company has been developing under its own funding since 2009 to equip the French army with a new ground combat weapon to be available as of 2017.
A risk reduction contract, notified by the French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) in December 2011, served to validate the technical choices behind the critical equipment involved with the missile and its firing post. The capability of the missile’s non-cooled infrared seeker to guide it towards the target in “fire and forget” mode, the electro-optical performance of the latest generation cameras in the firing post as well as the dynamic behaviour of the fibre optic connection necessary for “man in the loop” operation were also able to be confirmed.
The configuration of the missile and its associated equipment have been fixed, allowing the programme to enter the integration phase at the beginning of 2013, with the first functional models being integrated and tested. At the same time, environmental testing of a full model have enabled MMP’s sub-assembly environmental specifications to be established. This will allow progress towards the shock and vibration testing phase.
More recently, the “confined space firing” capability was demonstrated during a series of tests on several types of ground surfaces in MBDA’s test tunnel in Bourges, central France. The positive results of these tests were necessary to assure the safety of the system operators who will be participating in the firing campaigns with the firing post.
Tests with the warhead against the latest generation of explosive reactive armour have been successfully carried out. New trials were also able to start in recent weeks to verify the weapon’s behaviour in its anti-infrastructure mode to finalise development of the multi-functional warhead.
At the same time, the ergonomics of the firing post as well as its modular architecture were also validated, confirming also the solution intended for the integration of MMP on the CT-40 canon turret for which studies have already started with Nexter.
The MMP programme was confirmed in France’s Defence and National Security White Paper and reaffirmed by the French Minister of Defence during his visit to MBDA’s Bourges facility on 10th June 2013.
Date: Jun 19, 2013