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MBDA Continues to Pursue Bi- & Multi-Lateral Programmes

MBDA Results Pan-European collaboration on next-generation munition concepts and projects will continue to provide the most cost-effective means of weapon design, development and procurement, MBDA officials highlighted yesterday.

Publicising the company’s financial results for 2016 in London on 15 March, MBDA Chief Executive Officer Antoine Bouvier described how Anglo-French commitments in particular, would continue to be reinforced despite the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Describing such Anglo-French cooperation as “very important”, Bouvier warned however that such collaboration did not remain exclusive to the pair across the Continent, highlighting other collaborations featuring Germany, Italy and Spain.

Such thoughts were echoed by MBDA UK’s Managing Director, Dave Armstrong, who explained how a devalued Sterling following BREXIT had placed UK products in a positive position in terms of price competition.

We will continue to pursue bi-lateral and multi-lateral programmes [in 2017],” Armstrong described while highlighting MBDA UK’s most significant news emerging from 2016 which included a contract agreement with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the Weapon Development Phase of the SPEAR air-to-surface precision strike missile; and a production order to equip the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning II aircraft with Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missiles (ASRAAMs) in August.

Discussing how the F-35 had successfully completed its first live fire test of the ASRAAM at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base on 15th March, Armstrong explained how the trial signalled the first time a non-US designed munition had been launched from the aircraft.

Referring to other developmental paths for the F-35, Armstrong explained how MBDA’s Meteor munition had also been committed to the Joint Strike Fighter programme with the Select Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR) Capability 3 expected to be committed to later in the year.

Elsewhere, Armstrong described how the company would work closely with the Royal Navy and BAE Systems to ensure its Sea Ceptor all weather air defence system would fit perfectly into the “embryonic” design and concept of the next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

Armstrong explained how the Sea Ceptor would be delivered “into the hands of the Royal Navy” during the second quarter of 2017 with an Initial Operating Capability expected to be achieved later in the year.

Additionally, Armstrong highlighted the MoD’s GBP30 million cooperation with UK Dragonfire – a consortium comprising MBDA, Qinetiq and Leonardo- tasked with developing a laser-based directed energy weapon capability demonstrator.

MBDA UK also described ongoing developments and cooperation with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in California, US, regarding the integration of the air-launched ground attack munition Brimstone on board the MoD’s next-generation Protector unmanned aerial system (UAS).

All of this reinforces MBDA’s partnership with the MoD as part of the PMA [Portfolio Management Agreement] across all three frontline commands, providing a weapon capability on a value for money basis,” Armstrong urged.

There is no doubt PMA is working successfully for both customer and industry and the partnership must remain through BREXIT and the Lancaster House Agreement,” he concluded.

Andrew White


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