MBDA – LOOKING AHEAD WITH NEW PRODUCTS
By Julian Nettlefold
29 Jun 10. MBDA, the international missiles Company, used its customary pre-Farnborough briefing session held at its London HQ yesterday to brief journalists on a string of exciting new developments and products.
MBDA has an annual turnover in 2009 exceeding $4 billion, a forward
order book of over $17 billion and over 90 customers worldwide. The Comapny offers a complementary range of weapon systems, including the METEOR air to air missile, numerous precision weapon systems, warheads and fuses, the wings for the Small Diameter bomb, and the only Laser Guided Zuni rocket for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. MBDA currently has 45 missile system and countermeasure programs in operational service. The MBDA group has a large industrial and technological base in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and the United States.
In the late nineties and early part of this Century nothing seemed to go right for MBDA, its multi-national Long Range Trigat system was scrapped, it lost its world-leading position as the main supplier of advanced anti-tank missiles with the Milan to the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin, the Jernas replacement for the best selling Rapier missile was not selling well and the Meteor airborne missile continued to suffer from development problems. Analysts saw the Company as one with a strong order book with such systems as Storm Shadow and Aster but little in the pipeline. They saw the possibility of BAE Systems selling its stake and even suggested a take-over by Northrop Grumman in 2008. However there has been a sudden turnaround in the Company’s fortunes, somewhat helped by the 2006 announcement of Team Complex Weapons (Team CW), which has given MBDA new sole-source development funds and the impetus to look into new areas of technology. One can understand the ire of Raytheon Systems Limited, part of the Raytheon Company, the winner in many new U.K. missile programmes, in being left out of TCW.
Team Complex Weapons (Team CW)
U.K. Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson made a statement in July 2006 where he signalled a new approach to fulfilling the UK’s military requirement for Complex Weapons (CW) in response to the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS), published in Dec 05.
Team CW is a grouping led by MBDA (UK) Ltd, Thales UK, Roxel (UK Rocket Motors) Ltd and QinetiQ. The Ministry of Defence is also a member of Team CW.
Given the significance of some types of CW, in many cases the UK armed forces require absolute confidence in the performance and safety aspects of their weapon systems, particularly as they become more sophisticated. This can only be guaranteed if the UK has access to and a comprehensive understanding of the entire system and its design and controlling software. To maintain appropriate sovereignty, it is important that the UK can use, maintain and upgrade specific capabilities in its inventory, independent of other nations.
To take forward the CW sector initiative since the July 2006 announcement, the MoD secured a Public Policy Exclusion Order (PPEO) from the UK Competition Act (in August 2007), which enabled Team CW to share commercially sensitive information. The MoD and Team CW signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in September 2007 which gave Team CW formal status and allowed detailed discussions to commence. The MoD and Team CW have also undertaken significant work on the commercial arrangements that are expected to underpin a Strategic Partnering Agreement, of which the Teaming Agreement is the first phase. Within the DE&S, the MoD has met the challenge by re-configuring weapons and their funding within a single DG-led cluster. The Industry Partners in Team CW include, Thales UK, QinetiQ and Roxel (UK Rocket Motors) Ltd.
New Concept Vision Project
Dave Brown, Head of Product Strategy for MBDA gave a brief on the new Concept Vision Plan being implemented at MBDA which allows for employees to give