In today’s asymmetric warfare environment, a target is as likely to be a rigid inflatable as a destroyer, a pick-up truck as a tank, or a micro-UAV as a manned aircraft. 

Taking them out with traditional missiles is like using the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut – and also depletes stocks of expensive equipment.

With this in mind Thales showed off its new lightweight multi-role missile (LMM) at the Farnborough air show this week.

Weighing just 13kg and built to be fired from multiple ground, air and naval platforms against an equally wide range of targets, it is designed to meet military requirements without draining budgets.

Lightweight LMM 

Drawing on Thales’ experience with the Starstreak very short-range air defence missile, it uses a value-engineered rocket motor designed against a target cost by Roxel.

It also uses a laser proximity fuze, as many of its intended targets will be ‘soft-skinned’, with little metal content.

Thales is studying a semi-active laser seeker for future use, but one designed to cost thousands, not tens of thousands, of Euros.

Steve Hill, head of Thales UK’s air systems business, said at the show yesterday that the LMM programme had been launched in early 2007 following customer feedback.

There is “a real gap in the market” for a missile that combined low cost with precision attack, he says.

Source: Flight International