The previous GBP 36 million TRADERS(The Rapier Exchange of Repairable Spares) contract with MBDA was signed in March 2004. In August 2005, however, the MoD’s Land Guided Weapons Integrated Project Team (IPT) launched the Air Defence Availability Project (ADAPT) to provide support to Rapier systems in service on an availability basis, rather than paying for parts and labor. This has been a persistent feature of British defense sustainment contracts, one that larger countries like the USA have been slow to recognize and adopt.
The new ADAPT agreement will sustain Rapier FSC until the system’s eventual out-of-service date in 2020, and the UK MoD estimates savings of GBP 175 million (about $355 million) in whole-life costs over that period – but does not divulge the contract’s total value. Approaches adopted to make this example of “future contracting for availability” mutually beneficial to the MOD and MBDA include contract incentives; a joint management team; contractor and Interated Product Team support co-located at a centre of excellence; fleet management; a ‘one stop shop’ for support to training aids; the use of sponsored reserves; and a first-to-fourth line maintenance policy on operations. MoD release.
Rapier FSC provides Low Level Air Defence over the battlefield for UK forces enemy aircraft and cruise missiles…
As “France & Spain Order New Eurocopter Tiger HAD (updated)” noted, the Eurocopter Tiger is something of an odd duck whose two initial versions (French HAP, German HAC-UHT) each seemed to each be missing a vital piece that was present on the other version. Export orders to Spain (Tiger HAD) and Australia (Tiger ARH) both move to correct some of those deficiencies, and Spain has a few Tiger HAP helicopters from initial deliveries that will be converted to the HAD variant.
Spain’s helicopters will have air-air missile capability, and the short-range MBDA Mistral missile is the helicopter’s default anti-air armament. Spanish Army, airborne, and Marines units already deploy Mistral missiles in a man-portable air defense (MANPAD) role, so it makes a great deal of sense to add a proposed EUR 27.7 million order, spread over 5 years (2007-2011), in order to equip Spain’s Tiger Helicoptero de Apoyo y Destruccion craft with Mistral ATAM missiles and launchers. Another contract will complement the Mistrals with Israeli Spike-LR anti-armor missiles, which also have some anti-helicopter capability. Spanish Council of Ministers release – translation help via reader Pedro Lucio.
In 2005, “Meteor Missile Will Make Changes to Accommodate F-35” looked at the multi-national project to create the Meteor long range air-air missile, and explained how improving technologies and different approaches to fighter design had led the Europeans to make the Meteor project a priority. Countries involved include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK; industrial participants include MBDA, Thales, SAAB Bofors Dynamics, Finmeccania’s Alenia, the Spanish INMIZE joint venture, and Boeing.
MBDA’s Meteor has been successfully conducting development testing over the last couple of years, using the JAS-39 Gripen as its primary test platform and adding flights with the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale. In parallel to that effort, MBDA has been advancing its strategic goals via the purchase of a German firm called Bayern-Chemie/Protac.
Kuwait has awarded MBDA a 3-year, EUR 65 million (currently about $86 million) contract to upgrade the Aspide air defense missile batteries deployed by the Kuwaiti air defence brigade. The units and missiles will be upgraded to SPADA 2000 configuration, which uses the Aspide 2000 missile. The contract also covers the supply of ancillary equipment to ensure advanced in-service support and maintenance.
The basic SPADA 2000 configuration consists of a Detection Centre and of 2 Firing Sections (expandable to 4), backed by a 3D volumetric air surveillance radar with track-while-scan of up to 100 air tracks within its 60 km/ 36 mile range, and by an Operation Centre for overall coordination. See further details at Army Technology. Each firing section is composed of a tracking and illumination radar with a 40 km/ 24 mile range, plus the control unit and 2 Aspide 2000 6-pack missile launchers. The Aspide has similarities with the AIM-7 Sparrow, which Selenia produced under license, but it has a more powerful engine as well as original electronics and warhead technology. Aspide 2000 has a notional intercept range of 20km/ 12 miles, offering improved engagement range, better ECM resistance, and improved interception capability against highly maneuvrable low-flying targets.
On December 29, 2006, MBDA has received a development and production contract from the French DGA(Delegation Generale pour l’Armement) defence procurement agency for 250 SCALP Naval land attack missiles. Scalp Naval/ MdCN cruise missiles are longer-range variants of the stealthy, air-launched Storm Shadow, with an expected reach of over 1,000 km/ 540 nautical miles. They are slated to equip the French Navy’s FREMM multi-mission frigates (200 missiles) and new SSN Barracuda Class submarines (50 missiles). The value of the contract is EUR 910 million (currently about $1.2 billion).
MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%). SCALP Naval production will be carried out in Selles Saint Denis, MBDA’s central region site in France. The contract is made up of 4 tranches, with the first tranche coming into force with this notification, and covering the delivery of 50 missiles for the FREMM frigates in 2013.
N.B. The land attack version of FREMM was shelved, but some French ships will carry the required Sylver A70 launchers.
Europe’s moves in this area have been much quieter and less overt than Japan’s or America’s, but they have not been idle. Spain and Norway have bought AEGIS-equipped ships that can be equipped with SM-3 missiles and related ABM upgrades if required. Britain, France and Italy are investing in and buying creating a naval PAAMS radar and missile system that will have some ballistic missile defense capabilities, as well as a derivative ground based system with point-defense ABM capabilities in the Aster 30 SAMP/T. The USA, Italy, and Germany are also engaged in a land-based venture to modernize their air defense missile systems (Patriot, Hawk, and even Nike Hercules) via a joint venture called MEADS. Similar to the MBDA SAMP/T but representing next-generation technology and deployability, MEADS will be designed to kill enemy aircraft, cruise missiles, UAVs, and ballistic missiles within its reach. A $3.4 billion contract was formally issued back in June 2005, and risk-reduction design & development work is ongoing.
Following joint development between the United Kingdom and Sweden, the Swedish FMV defense procurement agency placed a SEK 500 million (about $63 million) purchase order with Saab Bofors Dynamics for the RB 57 NLAW(Next generation Light Antitank Weapon). NLAW was developed in Sweden and will be produced in the United Kingdom, where it is known as MBT-LAW. A number of British subcontractors are involved in production, and final assembly will take place at Thales Air Defence in Belfast. This order is for series production and delivery for the Swedish Armed Forces.
In the summer of 2002 the Swedish FMV and British Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) ordered development of NLAW for the United Kingdom and Sweden, plus series production and delivery for the British Armed Forces. The order was worth approximately SEK 4,000 million (about $430 million at the time), beating out the Predator/Kestrel from Lockheed Martin, MBDA and Insys.
Malaysia’s Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2005 in the city of Langkaw has produced a flurry of announcements and cooperation agreements with European firms. The country is spending EUR 20 million ($23.2 million at current exchange) on two EADS’ TRML-3D air defense radars, with delivery slated for the beginning of 2008. The contract also includes options for eight more systems, to be decided next year. The TRML 3Ds will serve as long range air defense radars, and will complement Malaysia’s order for MBDA’s short range, air-mobile Jernas (Rapier FSC) anti-air systems, which are slated to begin delivery later this year.
Meanwhile, DID’s earlier report re: a potentialEADS Airbus A400M buy instead of their planned C-130 upgrade program has come to pass; EADS hails the offset-laden agreement as a vindication of their strong Asia-Pacific market push. In a similar vein, Thales’ sharp uptick in local business led it to open its first Malaysian Naval Service Centre in Lumut, near Malaysia’s main naval base on the west coast. The move is likely to prefigure a similar approach in other countries. Details below…
Now OCCAR has awarded France’s DCN and Thales (Armaris) and Italy’s Fincanteri and Finmeccanica (Orizzonte Sistemi Navale) the first phase of contracts for developing and building the multi-role warships. MBDA will also be a major participant, as the FREMMs will mostly be equipped with its missiles. Up to 27 frigates are currently planned, making it one of Europe’s largest-ever warship programs; Armaris has also signaled a strong desire to sell the FREMM frigates abroad. With respect to this contract…
EADS reports that the Spanish SENER company, acting as the prime contractor for Spain’s Taurus program, has contracted for 43 operational Taurus KEPD 350 medium-range precision attack cruise missiles, plus mission planning and support for weapons integration with Spain’s EA-18A
Hornets and Eurofighter aircraft. The contract award was based on the decision taken by the Spanish Council of Ministers in June 2005.
Costs for this finalized deal were not mentioned – but DID can provide some guidance in this area, as well as insights into the Taurus missiles themselves, their key competitors on the international market, and the new export opportunities this contract may create for EADS/LFK.