17 February 2019
By Luca Peruzzi
On the first day of IDEX/NAVDEX 2019, MBDA presented the SPIMM (Self-Protection Integrated Mistral Module), an all-in-one self-contained air/surface defence module based on the MBDA Mistral missiles launching SIMBAD-RC system and a two-operators C2 station, designed to be embarked on ships not equipped with a relevant self-defence capability and enabling to cope with threats such as anti-ship missiles, unmanned air vehicles and small fast crafts (FIAC).
These threats have become more common and highly dangerous in the unsecured littoral zones for platforms such as logistic support ships, landing craft and dock, and civil ship temporary operated for logistic support. These vessels are usually not equipped with a permanent combat suite capable to cope with these challenging threats, but only gun mountings without a search and control system.
“MBDA has developed a quickly-to-be-installed and removed self-contained suite based on an ISO 10 feet container weighing 7 tons with a 3×2.5 plate and fixed on the deck by 4 corner twist-locks. The latter requires only connection with the ship main power supply to operate and can be loaded onboard by means of a standard crane”, said MBDA’s Naval Defence Systems Product Executive Christophe Leduc. The containerized module is over headed by the SIMBAD-RC automated naval turret equipped with two ready-to-fire Mistral missiles and a higher rear structure to accommodate a 360° infrared panoramic system to detect and track air and surface threats, two condensers air conditioning units and the lower accommodated two-operator control stations compartment, with nearby ammunition storage compartment for 4 Mistral missiles, for a total availability of six missiles, including the two weapons on the SIMBAD-RC launchers.
“The SPIMM offer a self-contained and self-controlled air/surface defence module that can autonomously perform air and surface threats engagements including challenging targets such as the anti-ship missiles, thanks to the two-operator control stations and the Mistral missile demonstrated and high-ratio-to kill capabilities,” explained Christophe Leduc.
The MBDA 24-kg heavy short-range air defence missile has a fire-and-forget and autonomous self-guidance capabilities based on an imagery infra-red seeker (3-5 micron) characterized by high sensitivity, with and up-to-9 km firing range and a high effectiveness warhead with laser proximity. With more than 5,000 firings, the Mistral’s seeker advanced image processing has been enhanced during the recent years and more recently the missile system has been enhanced and demonstrated at the end of last year, the capability to successfully engage and neutralize asymmetric threats such as Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC) by day and by night. In addition to the 360° infrared panoramic system to detect, track, identify and engage air and surface threats, which was represented by HGH Infrared Systems Spynel family system, but the SPIMM can work with different provided sensors, the SIMBAD-RC is equipped with a thermal camera which provides complementary threat evaluation before firing.
“The SPIMM enables the urgent and rapid adaptation of supply vessels or landing platform docks to cope with new threats, or for using them in contested areas, with a cost-effective solution”, says MBDA Naval Defence Systems Product Executive. The system is proposed mainly for the export market but is also targeted for the French Navy’s requirement for a future inner-layer defence system to protect by first- and second-line vessels. “This system illustrates MBDA’s ability to understand its customers’ needs and to quickly come up with effective and functional solutions”, MBDA Naval Defence Systems Product Executive explained.