UK's Fire Shadow loitering munition makes flight debut

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The UK's delayed Team Complex Weapons initiative is expected to move beyond its planning stage within the next two months, while one of its signature programmes has already advanced into its flight test phase.

Developed within a 15-month period, the Fire Shadow loitering weapon was test fired in late April by the MBDA-led Team Loitering Munitions, which also comprises companies including Lockheed Martin, Qinetiq and Thales.

 
© MBDA

Performed at the Aberporth test range in west Wales, the demonstration included boosted launch of the forward-swept wing weapon before a pre-programmed flight culminating in a high-g attack manoeuvre.

Designed to have a range of more than 100km (185nm) before loitering above a battlefield for around 10h, the Fire Shadow should deliver the UK's more than £500 million ($990 million) indirect fire precision attack (IFPA) capability against fixed and moving targets. The system is expected to operate in conjunction with assets such as British Army's future Watchkeeper unmanned air vehicles.

 

Team LM expects the UK Ministry of Defence to later this year approve the IFPA project to enter its assessment phase.