By David Oliver
On 27 March in London, MBDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Antoine Bouvier introduced the recently appointed Executive Group Director Engineering and Managing Director MBDA UK, Chris Allam (on the photo). A former BAE Systems Managing Director Future Programmes and Services,
Chris will be the senior representative of MBDA in the UK and responsible for the high-level relationships between MBDA and the UK customer and industrial community.
Antione Bouvier, along with Chief Finance Officer, Peter Bols, recorded the company’s confirmed growth in 2017 which was the fifth consecutive year that MBDA recorded a high in orders worth €4.2 billion, while revenue amounted to €3.1 billion. By 31 December the company’s order book reached a record peak of €16.8 billion, giving the group prospects for sustained growth over the next five years.
In 2017 export orders worth €2.6 billion again exceeded orders from the company’s domestic countries worth €1.6 billion. This high volume of export orders, achieved despite recent increasingly stiff American competition in Europe and the Middle East.
Antoine Bouvier declared: “The group continues to move forward on each of its three strategic pillars: to give its domestic countries guaranteed access to missile technological sovereignty, to pursue European consolidation, to develop international activities; these three actions jointly contribute to the critical mass of MBDA, that is its ability to achieve long-term development faced with its global competitors. We continue to view the future with optimism, targeting, as we expected, €4 billion in revenue by 2020.
With the regard to M. Bouvier also stressed the importance of the United Kingdom’s continuing relationship with Europe irrespective of Brexit. The said that the UK has access to critical military technology in Europe and that the Lancaster House Agreement to develop deference and security co-operation between the UK and France will continue. He highlighted a number of co-operation projects involving the UK that made good progress in 2017 including the German Typhoon missile integration and Tiger armament, Italian ground-based air defence, local air defence for Spanish F 110 frigates, Sea Ceptor for Type 23 frigates in Chile and the naval short-range air defence system for Poland.
Chis Allam said that MBDA UK has a unique strategic flexibility part of which is its £50 investment in it Bolton facility and its commitment to recruit 400 more people this year.
New technologies being developed include laser-based systems and continuing European collaboration with the unmanned Future Combat Air System (FCAS) while its portfolio capabilities comprise trials successes of Sea Ceptor, ASRAAM and Sea Venom, Land Ceptor deliveries and trials for Project Centurion, the RAF’s Typhoon future weapons package which includes MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, has been completed.
France and the UK have launched the concept phase of the future cruise/anti-ship missile (FC/ASW) programme, which aims to replace SCALP/Storm Shadow, Exocet and Harpoon in both countries while an order for additional Meteor missiles has been placed for continued integration of the F-35 Lightning II, the capability of which has been recognised by Japan, another F-35 customer.
On the eve of the press conference, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded MBDA a £400 million contract for the capability sustainment programme (CSP) of the advanced Brimstone air-to-surface missile, to extend its service life beyond 2030. The new-build Brimstone 3 missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years in order to meet UK operational requirements. These include the highly capable Dual Mode SAL/millimetric wave (mmW) seeker, enhanced autopilot, and the new insensitive munition compliant rocket motor and warhead. CSP modes will be cockpit selectable providing users with simple access to the unique capabilities of Brimstone against the most challenging targets.
Brimstone 3 will be carried by the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fighter aircraft and is expected in the future to be carried by the RAF’s new Protector remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) and the British Army’s new Apache attack helicopters. By using Brimstone across different platforms and services, the UK will receive significant logistical advantages and cost savings. Brimstone is also being integrated with France’s Tiger attack helicopter and Reaper RPAS and Antoine Bouvier said that other potential customers include Qatar.
He also said that MBDA had high ambitions for Brimstone in the US market, but for a number of reasons they have been proved to be wrong. However, the MBDA continues to invest in the United States and is concentrating on establishing partnerships with US companies.