Page 30 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
P. 30

“Both the Spike LR2 and the MMP are going head-to-head for Project Land 4108, the dismounted capability.”
MBDA-produced Milan ATGM system with an initial evaluation of the Javelin and the Spike LR, the latter to be adapted to French requirements.
A newbuild fifth-generation system pro- posed by MBDA was later selected as the preferred option and formal development of the MMP began in 2012.
First deliveries to the French Army be- gan in late 2017. Mounted and dismounted missiles will be issued to infantry, cavalry and special forces units, replacing Javelins, together with Milan systems on VAB 6x6 medium armoured vehicles The missile is
currently being integrated in a twin round retractable launcher on the Jaguar 6x6 com- bat reconnaissance vehicles that over time will replace the VAB fleet.
The first of an intended family of 140 mm calibre munitions, MMP has a range in excess of 4,000 metres, is 1.3 metres long, weighs 15 kg in its carry/launch tube and is fitted with a high-performance fibre-optic data link and a Saab Bofors-developed tan- dem warhead with selectable anti-armour and anti-infrastructure modes. Both modes also feature an anti-personnel effect.
According to MBDA, the missile can defeat more than one metre of rolled homogenous armour beneath explosive reactive armour, three metres of non-reinforced concrete.
A dual band colour TV/uncooled IR seeker assembly enables the engagement of cold and hot targets in varied visibility, with the operator selecting which sensor mode to deploy before launch.
The missile features two selectable tra- jectory options – low altitude with direct attack, or high altitude with top attack. It can be fired in two modes: either lock-on- before-launch for engagement of visible tar- gets, or lock-on-after-launch, with a man- in-the-loop capability for non-line-of-sight engagements when a suspected target is not initially visible.
As with Spike LR2, for lock-on-after-launch the tar- get can also be designated by a third party with the seeker image transmitted to the operator in a wide field of view via the fibre optic link that also enables in-flight targeting and retargeting.
An inertial reference unit designed and built by French elec- tronics company Safran guides the mis- sile to the grid reference provided by the third party, where the target can
then be acquired.
Open software architecture and inter-
national data standards are utilised to simplify the integration of the MMP into the host vehicle’s battle management and sighting systems. Because the MMP is a total digital system, upgrades can be intro- duced via software insertion rather than requiring return to the manufacturer.
The missile itself is carried in a ‘ready to use’ turret-mounted configuration, and its soft launch ejection system eliminates the potential for damage to the host vehicle.
It was reported in March that MBDA had achieved its first export for the MMP, thought to be for the dismounted configu- ration. Although the company declined to provide details of the order, the recipient country is believed to be Qatar.
To ensure Australian sovereignty in the op- eration and sustainment of MMP, MBDA undertook to provide to Australian in- dustry the design and tooling necessary to manufacture advanced MMP components and integration hardware and become part of the MMP global supply chain. MBDA Australia made an announcement in Feb- ruary this year about a partnership for com- posites on the launch tube with Airspeed as part of their Land 400 campaign.
Although MMP is a maintenance-free missile, the company also promised to trans- fer the tools and expertise necessary for Aus- tralia to sustain its own MMP stockpile dur- ing its expected more than 30-year lifespan.
Interestingly, MBDA also proposed rep- licating the level of technical collaboration achieved with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) in evolving the company’s Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM), the primary weapon of the RAAF’s ‘classic’ F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters.
This would allow DSTG to conduct tai- lored testing and modelling and to collabo- rate on the development of performance upgrades, MBDA suggested.
MBDA’s Watson confirmed that collabo- ration with South Australian composites specialist Airspeed on MMP launch tube production had not been contingent on suc- cess with Land 400 Phase 2.
“If there’s a price or performance advan- tage, of course we’re still interested,” he stated.
Although neither contender has been pre- pared to comment on the Commonwealth’s decision, the Jane’s report suggested that the Spike LR2 had been assessed as better matched to Army’s Elbit-supplied battle management system.
In its tender BAE Systems advanced both Spike LR2 and MMP as ATGM options for its AMV35; Rheinmetall proposed only the Spike LR2 for the Boxer. With the ca- pabilities and proposed industrial strate- gies for both missiles broadly similar, the lengthy operational experience behind de- velopment of the LR2 is likely to have been a further factor in its selection.
BAE offered both Spike and MMP (above) for Land 400; Rheinmetall only offered Spike. 30 | July 2018 |

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