Manufacturer proposes to divide improvements to cruise missile into three phases

MBDA is considering making the first of its planned enhancements to the Storm Shadow/Scalp EG cruise missile as early as 2010. The company's French, Italian and UK customers are "converging on which capabilities they want to add and aligning their priorities", says Luc Boureau, MBDA's sector director, strike.

The missile manufacturer has split the proposed improvements into three "epochs". In epoch 1 – 2010-11, "likely" enhancements include the incorporation of a one-way datalink, allowing the missile to send battle damage information back to a command centre, plus improved mission planning to make the weapon more "flexible and reactive" and take into account meteorological data.

Epoch 2, from 2015, could see an improvement to the missile's navigation capabilities, "making it more robust in adverse conditions", says Boureau. It will also add more connectivity with networks, possibly a new engine and an "alternative or improved warhead" with additional lethality. The missile could also be fitted with a two-way datalink that would allow it to be retargeted in flight. The use of new modes of GPS navigation and an anti-spoofing module could also be considered, he says.

MBDA says it is also looking at additional aircraft integration for the missile, considering the Eurofighter Typhoon at the start of the next decade, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter around 2015 and a potential large non-penetrating aircraft in the "long-term future".

Around epoch 3 in 2020, the company will look at "new systems with breakthrough technologies", which could make use of a mix of unmanned combat air vehicles and strike weapons with long range and loitering capabilities. MBDA expects the results of a study on the potential use of UCAVs and loitering missiles by the end of this year.


Source: Flight International