LIMA 2023 – MBDA proposes its missiles for Malaysian defence programmes

Paolo Valpolini

MBDA, the European missile company, looks with great interest at the incoming Malaysian defence programmes both at sea and in the air, and considers further opportunities in the wider area

Present in the Asian region with many of its products, MBDA aims at further extending its presence in the area. Considering the two main Malaysian naval programmes, the company is definitely aiming at the Littoral Mission Ship for the air defence segment. As for the antiship segment, the Malaysian choice seems to head towards other solutions. MBDA also looks at the Littoral Combat Ship programme, which was revived by the Malayisian government, the announcement made on the last day of LIMA 2023.

In the air defence field MBDA also looks at the upgrade of the Royal Malaysian Navy two Lekin-class light frigates, currently fitted with the Sea Wolf system. The company proposes a solution based on the CAMM family of missiles. As for the antiship mission, these ships are fitted with the Exocet MM40 Block 2, which might be retained.

For non-combatant surface vessels MBDA proposes its SIMBAD RC turret fitted with Mistral 3 VSHORAD missiles for self-defence.

Of course air defence missiles are not limited to naval use. The Royal Malaysian Army is equipped with the Rapier 2000/Jernas system, which will soon need replacement. To this end MBDA is proposing two solutions, one based on the VL-MICA NG and one on the CAMM family, depending on the requirements. As for the antitank mission, the Army currently fields a mix of missiles of Russian and western origin, all of old generation, the Akeron MO being considered by MBDA a high end replacement that might considerably improve antitank capabilities.

With the FA-50 light fighter acquisition launched, the weapons package does not seem yet frozen, therefore MBDA is proposing its ASRAAM air-to-air IIR-guided missile while in the air-to-ground role the Brimstone 3, three of which can be carried under a single pylon, is considered the best option in terms of lethality and flexibility.

Looking around the Malaysian area, a number of Exocet missiles are deployed, and soon or late will need replacement, while in the GBAD field the proposal remains that based on CAMM ER or VL-MICA NG, that might answer the requirements of different countries.

Of course the company is well positioned when a platform originating from one of its shareholders countries is adopted, such as in Indonesia where its MICA, Meteor and Exocet AM39 constitute the Rafale weapons package.

Photo by P. Valpolini