MBDA Missile Systems have unveiled a small laser+GPS/INS guided weapon developed with company funding at MBDA’s U.S. subsidiary. The weapon called Small Air Bomb Extended Range (SABER) can be configured as a rocket or glide weapon, according to the customer’s requirements. The dual mode warhead uses blast-fragmentation or shaped charge, for reduced collateral damage and penetration effect. The SABER uses a semi-active laser seeker for terminal guidance, and GPS/INS mid-course navigation enabling the weapon to fly off-axis, regardless to the direction of the launching platform. An alternative seeker employing TV/IR sensor with data-link communications enabling ‘man in the loop’ control is currently in development.
Douglas J. Denneny, Vice President of Government Relations at MBDA Inc. told Defense Update that the SABER could be available for operational use following the completion of flight tests anticipated in the ‘upcoming months’. The unpowered version weighs only 10 pounds, and its range is dependent on the launch altitude, with the rocket powered version adapted for low altitude launch, weighing about 30 pounds.