In an effort to provide the correct balance of air power projection for military operators in future conflict, MBDA is envisioning a modular approach to weapon use.
Introducing its CVW102 Flexis concept at the show, the company is leveraging research and development projects that it is currently working on to provide a future solution for offensive operations, which will allow the operator to configure missiles according to the mission requirement up to the point of use.
This includes a central command unit, a common missile power and communications bus with “universal contactless interfaces” and a common composite chassis that allows for the installation of mission-specific elements, including common standardised diameters. Weapons can then be assembled as required and tailored to particular missions.
The key issues that Flexis is targeting are: the need to have quantities of weapons in the locations they are needed for prolonged operations; maintaining a technological edge; and the uncertainty of future operations and whether they will be symmetrical or asymmetrical in nature.
Edward Dodwell, head of MBDA’s Concept Visions 2015 team, used the example of the carrier strike mission to illustrate the benefits of this concept, claiming that these operations are typically prolonged, but simultaneously quick reaction is required and the capability has to be readily available.
Flexis, he adds, is a more low cost approach, because only one baseline configuration cost is required, with lower cost variable packages for the missile added on top.