A German team has revealed details of a development project that is expected to provide the German air force with a modular series of precision-guided glide weapons for service entry from late this decade.

German missile builder BGT and the armed forces' WTD91 engineering and development unit at Meppen unveiled two models at the ILA show in Berlin, including a 1,400kg (3,090lb) missile which will carry a further development of the Mephisto penetrating warhead now in production for Taurus Systems' KEPD350 cruise missile.

First flights of the Hope weapon system, including penetration trials and release from a WTD91-operated Panavia Tornado, were conducted in Germany late last year, and a three-year risk reduction phase is expected to start by July.

The 5m (16.4ft) weapon is expected to have a glide range of up to 160km (86nm) following its release from 42,600ft (12,800m), and to carry a unitary blast/fragmentation warhead weighing around 100kg.

To fly at speeds of around 400-500kt (740-925km/h), the Hope system uses an innovative 2.8m carbonfibre diamond-wing design, which will be scaled down for smaller weapons in the modular family. These will be carried upside down before release from a host aircraft, when they will roll over and deploy their wings. A 250kg design dubbed Hosbo was also displayed.

Beyond these new airframe designs, the development effort is also applicable to unguided bombs, such as the Mk82/83/84 series, which could be equipped with a new GPS/INS guidance kit, says Frank Boller from BGT's research and development unit. The weapons can also carry further snap-on guidance systems, such as a laser or infrared seeker, and also be equipped with a datalink, he says.

"This is a low-cost programme with easy aircraft integration," says Boller, noting the team aims to use largely off-the-shelf equipment.



Source: Flight International