Javelin missile makers, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, are in pursuit of a contract for a medium-range weapon for the French Army.
The Javelin is reportedly head-to-head with MBDA for a contract to develop and build a new weapon under the planned missile moyenne portée (MMP), medium-range missile program. The new program, for 3,000 replacement missiles, aims to replace the French Army’s aging MBDA Milan missiles.
However, the American manufacturers wonder if France will have the financial resources to develop a new weapon and whether MBDA will be able to deliver by mid-2017, when the Milan is taken out of service, Defense News reported.
An MBDA spokesperson confirmed that work started on MMP in 2010, with some funding from the DGA in late 2011 for the assessment phase.
“Work is on track for delivery to start in 2017 to avoid any capability gap when the Milan is withdrawn from the French Army,” the spokesman said.
MBDA Chief Executive Antoine Bouvier said MMP is one of the three big decisions this year, along with an anti-ship missile dubbed anti-navire léger, and boosting range on the Aster Block 1 air defense weapon.
The Javelin is designed as a fire-and-forget weapon, while the French Army calls for a man in the loop to limit harm to civilians. The joint venture offers fire-and-forget in Phase I, and adaptation to French needs under a possible MBDA co-development in a later phase.
Earlier this week, the French government announced its decision to freeze the country’s defense budget until the end of this decade.