Wednesday, August 25, 2010
MBDA rolls out vision of future infantry weapons
Weapons manufacturer MBDA has unveiled the results of its company-wide "concept visions" initiative that asked the firm's 10,000 employees to come up with product ideas for the future.
Targeting urban infantry warfare, the firm received some 250 ideas in the three weeks following the project's launch. These were distilled into two product streams under the CVS101 banner: the Sniper and the Enforcer, which are both shoulder-fired missile systems linked to a sophisticated target acquisition and guidance system.
Steve Wadey, executive group director technology and managing director UK, says: "Concept visions is a completely new process that we have launched in the business at the start of 2010 to shape the marketplace in missile systems for 2030 and beyond. It is the equivalent of the concept car in the automotive industry.
"This is a real example of MBDA driving initiative and inspiring our customers, partners, suppliers and employees to look at the future in a very different way and shape the marketplace."
Wade says the company has been delighted with the results of the "novel and unique process" and will look to repeat the exercise at the beginning of 2011, potentially focusing on longer-range ordinance.
The idea for the Enforcer concept came from UK employee Giles Holtby, who work in sales and business development. Mickael Mew, concept visions manager, says: "We stitched together themes that we thought worked well together so there are elements of most, if not all, of the initial 250 ideas in the final products."
As part of the development process MBDA had what Mew terms "low-level, informal" contact with the fire support section of the Welsh Guards, following their deployment to Afghanistan. This helped MBDA to refine the concept, which Mew says "improves mobility and reduces burden" due to its light weight, as well as enabling accurate fire support which will reduce collateral damage.
The Sniper system fires a 0.9kg (2lb) missile using a 40mm (1.5in) cartridge to soft-launch the missile before its rocket propulsion system kicks in. Recoil will be similar to the existing Javelin missile. The larger Enforcer anti-tank system weighs in at just 4.5kg, firing a 1kg warhead.