MBDA offers mini missiles for Rheinmetall Skyranger air-defense gun

MBDA offers mini missiles for Rheinmetall Skyranger air-defense gun

MILAN — MBDA Germany and Rheinmetall Electronics have announced the integration of a new guided missile for countering small drones into the Skyranger 30 air-defense turret, offering new technology in the race to protect ground formations against loitering munitions and related threats.

The Germany-based companies signed a letter of intent to that effect at the ILA 2024 Berlin aerospace show on June 5.

The cooperation will also involve the integration of the interceptor missile into other Rheinmetall military vehicles as well as the development and production of a launcher into the company’s various turret types and digital system architecture.

The combination of the weapons – a rapid-fire gun and a small interceptor missile — is viewed as an alternative to bridge existing capability gaps in mobile defense against drones at close and very close range, according to a June 5 company statement.

“The current conflicts have clearly shown that drone defense is one of the key challenges for armed forces – in order to provide the best possible solution for this, we are joining forces with Rheinmetall and their turret solutions to close capability gaps in drone defense,” Thomas Gottschild, managing director at MBDA Germany said.

In recent weeks, both Ukrainian and Russian forces have attempted to field countermeasures to protect their combat vehicles, especially battle tanks, against the growing array of drones deployed on the battlefield.

A specific type has emerged as exceptionally difficult to defend against: first-person-view drones, or FPVs. These systems, which at their core bear resemblance to steerable miniature warheads, can drop explosives on targets or ram a warhead into them.

According to air warfare experts, FPVs and loitering munitions are challenging as they provide a beyond-line-of-sight capability that allows operators to trail tanks on the move or ones heading to hiding spots.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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