MBDA secured contracts worth €9.9 billion ($10.8 billion) last year, with increased demand for air-defence equipment dominating its business.

Outlining the pan-European guided weapons producer’s 2023 performance on 13 March, chief executive Eric Beranger describes it as “an extraordinary year”.

“Air defence in 2023 was 70% of our orders,” Beranger says, with this having included a more than €2 billion order from Poland for its CAMM/-ER air defence system.


Source: MBDA

Poland in 2023 signed major contract for CAMM/-ER air-defence systems

The contract with Warsaw contributed towards MBDA securing 75% of its export business for the year with European customers outside its home nations of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Air sector highlights included a project to add UK and French cruise missiles to Ukrainian air force combat aircraft, in support of Kyiv’s defence against Russian invasion.

“In 2023 you saw the UK and France asking MBDA to integrate very quickly Storm Shadows and then SCALPs under aircraft which had never been made for this,” he says, referring to the common weapon’s integration with the Sukhoi Su-24. “We did this in a matter of weeks, whereas usually it’s more a matter of years to do something like this.”

In a related development, Beranger declines to comment on suggestions that Germany could potentially also equip Kyiv with Taurus cruise missiles: a product supported by MBDA. But asked about the feasibility of reducing the type’s 270nm (500km) range, he comments: “Controlling the range is a really matter of operation, but technically everything can be done, and quite easily.”

Meanwhile, discussions between France and the UK continue around agreeing adjusted workshare on the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW), after Italy’s July 2023 signature of a letter of intent to also join the programme.

“We are working inside MBDA but also together with the customers at precisely defining what it means for Italy to join this programme,” Beranger says, adding: “there are certain activities that Italy will take, and we have to define all of this.” While this adjustment has yet to be concluded, he describes 2023 as having seen “very positive developments” on the FC/ASW programme.

MBDA ended last year with an order backlog valued at €28 billion: an increase of 10% from 12 months earlier.