Teams of European missile maker MBDA’s young engineers and managers drawn from five European countries were challenged to come up with concepts and technologies that might be available in the 2035 timeframe to give warfighters a way to assemble missiles in the field from a suite of components designed to meet specific threats.
One concept is a missiles-on-demand scheme, known as Flexis. It revolves around a fully modular missile featuring technologies like contactless interfaces, common bus architecture and a common composite chassis.
The completely automated system would see keys mission-specific parts of the weapon effectively mixed and matched from a range of building blocks depending on the threat.
The operator effectively configures the weapon at the point of use, bringing a flexible effects-on-demand to the battlespace.
The team who unveiled their concept at the Paris Air show June 15 used three sizes of missile to demonstrate the idea, ranging from a 1.8 meter long anti-tank missile up to a 3 meter long air-to-air missile.
The 2015 team used an aircraft carrier as its assembly plant at sea but Ed Dodwell, the team leader, said the system could work equally well on smaller support ships or on forward army bases and airfields.
The scheme takes up relatively little space and it might even be possible to use an aircraft as an assembly site, although that would be the most technically challenging according to the Concepts Vision 2015 team.
Dodwell said he reckoned it would take just tens of minutes to assemble and deliver the weapons onboard a carrier once the threat was identified and a decision taken of what type of missile to respond with.
SOURCE – Defense News