- The purpose of the project is to crate new category of missiles for integration with an extensive variety of platforms.
- MBDA is the top contender for the project.
- This is part of the EU's push for all defense equipment to be made in Europe.
A beyond-line-of-sight land battlefield missile project has been signed by the ministers of defense of Belgium, Cyprus and France. The purpose of the project is to create a new category of missiles for integration with an extensive variety of platforms (ground-to-ground and air-to-ground) and to provide integrated and autonomous target designation capability as per the project description.MBDA Missile Systems announced it is their project. MBDA is a European developer and manufacturer of missiles. It was formed as a joint venture by a merger of the guided missile divisions of Airbus, Leonardo, and BAE Systems in December 2001. MDBA wants to sell their Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) not only to the French army, but to the rest of the EU members.
Sales tactics include the claim that MMP is European designed and made. EU member nations do not have anything self-made and designed outside of the outdated Milan ER and ERYX. MILAN is a European anti-tank guided missile. The design of the MILAN started in 1962, it was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972.
ERYX is a short-range portable SACLOS-based wire-guided anti-tank missile produced by MBDA. It is used by several countries, including the Canadian, French, and Norwegian armies. SACLOS (Semi-automatic command to line of sight) is a method of missile command guidance. In SACLOS, the operator has to continually point a sighting device at the target while the missile is in flight.
The US has much better systems. The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile fielded to replace the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service. It is manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
The US also uses the BGM-71 TOW, an American anti-tank missile. TOW replaced much smaller missiles like the SS.10 and ENTAC, offering roughly twice the effective range, a more powerful warhead, and a greatly improved semi-automatic guidance system that can also be equipped with infrared cameras for night time use.
Nevertheless, EU members use mostly Spike-LR. The system is made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. RAFAEL or Rafael, is an Israeli defense technology company. It was founded as Israel’s National R&D Defense Laboratory for the development of weapons and military technology within the Israeli Ministry of Defense in 2002. Spike is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead, currently in its fourth-generation.
The licensing agreement between European and Rafael allows the system to be marketed as “European designed” but it is not. MBDA is keen to market as “European Made” to access substantial subsidies under PESCO (The Permanent Structured Cooperation) and the European Defense Fund. The EDF budget is estimated to be 13 billion Euros ($14.3 billion) between 2021-2027.
Theses funds also explain EU companies recent aspirations to make all defense equipment in Europe. Since, when did defense companies become financially strapped? Skeptics also claim PESCO uses marketing to push through their companies under the slogan of European reunification. Yet, US systems are more competitive (actually cheaper) and better performing.
It will be interesting to see the impact of Brexit on the EU Defense budgets and projects, since the UK will loose all access to European zone financing from the EDF as well as any mechanisms of cooperation agreements and promotions.