MBDA’s vision for a quantum leap in air power projections

At the International Paris Air Show 2015, MBDA, Europe’s leading missile and missile systems company, is unveiling CVW102 FLEXIS, an innovative vision for delivering and sustaining military capability.

FLEXIS is a fully modular missile architecture concept for 2035 and beyond. It is capable of delivering a step change in weapon adaptability, increasing the breadth of effects deliverable as well as the endurance of a projected force, while significantly reducing the logistic burden on the commander.

The challenge we had,” explains Edward Dodwell, Head of MBDA’s five-nation Concept Visions 2015 team, “can be exemplified by carrier strike where there is a need to respond quickly to emerging conflicts and deliver effects within the constraints of the equipment held on board. This presents the challenge of having the right weapons in the right quantities to combat a growing variety of future scenarios within a weapons hold that will not grow.”

The answer to this challenge is modularity, not only applied on the production line but also right up to the moment when the weapon is loaded onto the aircraft. This modularity needs to be simple and robust to allow the operator to configure the missile at the point of use.

To meet this challenge, the Concept Visions team has developed FLEXIS, a future architecture for system modularity enabled by a number of innovative technologies being developed by MBDA:

  • A common missile power and communication bus with universal contactless interfaces applicable to all subsystems to simplify system architecture and allow configuration flexibility.

  • A common composite chassis allows for the embedding of the common bus architecture using wire-in composite processes, installation of mission specific aerodynamic surfaces and provides a common core to all the missile configurations, removing duplication.

  • A portfolio of common subsystems in standardised diameters delivers breadth of capability and allows system evolution through technology insertion.

  • Automated assembly equipment helps the operator to build and certify his missile prior to flight.

  • A central Weapon Configuration and Control Unit identifies the installed modules and configures their performance to work as an optimised system.

  • A Missile Collaboration & Coordination module provides automated inter-missile tactics and resource sharing to the missiles once in flight in order to maximize success in complex or high threat environments.

  • Health and Usage Monitoring integrated at the module level allows enhanced missile life management, and module design to life.

These technologies allow FLEXIS to provide capability breadth and munition depth from a finite stockpile. They also enhance affordability through the removal of duplicated development and qualification, system evolution to meet future threats and mission requirements, and offer increased efficiency and effectiveness in complex high threat environments.