Peter La Franchi/CANBERRA

Matra BAe Dynamics (MBD) has ditched plans to offer its Storm Shadow for the Royal Australian Air Force's Follow On Stand Off Weapon requirement. Instead, British Aerospace Australia (BAeA) has joined Israeli Military Industries (IMI) to offer the Delilah II.

An agreement between IMI and BAeA was concluded in early May. BAeA had also been exploring a teaming arrangement with Boeing, based on the SLAM-ER missile.

The Delilah II is a derivative of the Delilah-powered decoy, which is believed to have entered Israeli air force service. It is understood to carry a 30kg (65lb) warhead and to make use of the same seeker and datalink as the AGM-142 Popeye, now entering RAAF service.

MBD abandoned plans to contest the project with the Storm Shadow in mid-April. BAeA officials say analysis of the Project Air 5418 requirement would have necessitated potentially high-cost development of the Storm Shadow for it to meet the RAAF's specific requirements for a common missile family for use against radiating, area and littoral targets.

BAeA officials also acknowledge that the RAAF requirement posed weight obstacles for the 1,300kg Storm Shadow, the weapon selected for the Royal Air Force. The Air 5418 requirement is for a weapon which can be carried on the inboard weapons stations, with maximum payload capacity of 1,070kg, of Australia's Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

The lighter Delilah II is understood to allow the RAAF to carry eight missiles aboard a single F-111 for operational missions, as well as make use of all four AP-3C wing weapon stations. A Request For Tender for the requirement is expected by the end of July.

The requirement is also being contested by Raytheon with a two missile bid based on HARM Block 6 and a powered variant of the Joint Stand-Off Weapon, and by Taurus with modified versions of the KEPD 350.

Source: Flight International