The MBDA MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée – Medium Range Missile) is “the only current 5th generation land combat missile,” according to Jean Paul Faye, head of MBDA’s battlefield gbusiness line.
Intended to replace MILAN, JAVELIN and HOT missiles in the inventory of the French armed forces from next year, MMP was launched in 2013 with a contract from the DGA, France’s defence procurement agency. “In just four years we will have brought an advanced design from startup to the point of delivery,” says Faye. He adds that the programme has taken full advantage of the company’s multinational character, with some components for the system now being built in the UK.
MMP operates in two firing modes: ‘fire and forget’ (lock on before launch) for targets directly visible to the firing post and ‘man in the loop’ (lock on after launch) for targets hidden from view but identified and targeted through remote sensors. In either case the range is “well in excess of 4,000 metres” according to Faye and the powerful multipurpose tandem shaped charge of the warhead give the weapon penetration characteristics of up to 1 metre of vehicular armour or 2 metres of concrete. The target sets for MMP include armoured vehicles and military infrastructure in addition to the anti-personnel role, in which the pre fragmented nature of the warhead adds considerable effect.
A fibre optic link between missile and firing post and a seeker field of view described as “several times larger than the competition” provide for mid-course correction and enhanced accuracy, while the totally passive detection system – consisting of a dual band colour TV and an uncooled IR seeker – enhance system flexibility and rapid engagement.
MMP takes less than one minute to bring into action, according to Faye. An added advantage, he points out, is the fact that MMP is maintenance free and has an expected shelf life “at least as long as MILAN’s – 20 years or more.”
An additional DGA contract at the end of 2014 has mandated MBDA to integrate the MMP onto mobile firing platforms. During Eurosatory 2016 the company showcased installations on the Nexter VBCI infantry fighting vehicle (currently in French army service) and the EBRC, which is scheduled to enter French service by 2020) as well as on the Multi Purpose Combat Vehicle (MPCV), in which a four round launcher was shown as a replacement for the four round MISTRAL GBAD system.
Originally a French programme and with an initial order for 400 firing posts and 2,850 missiles and simulators, MMP carries considerable export ambitions with it for MBDA. Company officials at Eurosatory 2016 indicated the existence of marketing plans that contemplate a market penetration of at least 9,000 missiles over the next ten years.