A £36M contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been placed with MBDA for the Land variant of the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS Land). The new system will eventually replace the Rapier Field Standard C (FSC) currently in in British Army service. Rapier FSC has been in service since 1996 and is coming to the end of its service life.
The future local area air defence system (FLAADS) is a ground-based missile system whose missiles can travel at 1,000 metres per second and is able to simultaneously defend UK territories against a number of threats, including jets or cruise missiles travelling at supersonic speeds. The FLAADS Land system will be a derivative of MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) and its weapon command and control system, which are already contracted for installation onto the Royal Navy’s (RN) Type 23 Frigates under the ‘Sea Ceptor’ weapon system.
This approach leverages the existing investment to deliver the UK MOD with an affordable but highly capable air defence system for both the Army and Royal Navy, with a shared support and future upgrade path across both services. The current investment fund an assessment phase of the new program, by demonstrating the evolution and core weapon system subsystems (e.g. command & control) and their adaptation to the land combat environment. Following the assessment phase, a decision on whether to buy FLAADS as a replacement for Rapier is expected to be made in 2015.
According to MBDA, the opportunity to exploit a CAMM-based air defence system on land and sea will provide potential international customers with the opportunity to share in the benefits that the UK is reaping from the multi-service adoption of the missile. MBDA is delivering the FLAADS Land programme under the Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA), tasking the company with the development of a number of advanced weapon systems’ (complex weapons) based on a long-term roadmap.
“By extending the FLAADS programme to land applications, the British MOD is showing that MBDA continues to be its Complex Weapons company of choice and recognises its ingenuity in maximizing cost benefits through modularity and the re-use of existing technologies.” Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive Officer of MBDA said.