France’s defence procurement agency, DGA, has accepted delivery of the first batch of 50 missiles and 20 firing posts from the new MMP land combat missile system manufactured by MBDA, last week.
The new system will gradually replace the Milan, the HOT missiles mounted on VAB Armoured Fighting Vehicles and the ERYX for some of these missiles.
It will be issued to the French Army infantry and cavalry units, and to Special Forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The MMP programme will see the delivery of 400 firing posts and 1,750 missiles across all of the French Armed Forces by 2025. The first deliveries will be used to train future users. The weapon system will be deployed in operations in the course of 2018.
The DGA, which awarded MBDA the MMP contract in 2013, qualified the system last July, clearing the way for serial production.
The MMP benefits from lessons learned in recent operational engagements. It offers both ‘fire-and-forget’ and ‘man-in-the-loop’ capabilities. The first enables fixed or mobile targets to be hit without intervention by the operator during the missile’s flight.
The second allows the operator to change targets mid-flight, to refine the point of impact, or to divert the missile; it also opens up the possibility of firing at hidden targets beyond the direct line of sight.
The weapon system can be used by day and by night. Its multi-purpose warhead is effective against a wide variety of targets such as vehicles, armour, infrastructures and personnel. Its extreme accuracy gives it the ability to strike at a range of over 4,000 metres while minimising the risk of collateral damage.
The missile can be fired from confined spaces, a crucial characteristic for urban combat. MMP can be fired by dismounted infantrymen and is also to be fitted on the EBRC Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle, due to be delivered to the French Army in 2020.