Striking deep

Paolo Valpolini

If Tactical Strike systems are in an advanced development phase, for the time being deep strike ones are at conceptual level, so not many details were given. Two different systems are foreseen, one subsonic and one supersonic, the latter with a top speed of Mach 3+, EDR On-Line understood.

Both will have a length of around 5 meters and a weight of around 1,000 kg, range being in excess of 1,000 km, that is over three times that of the Scalp/Storm Shadow. Both are meant for engaging deeply protected targets at long ranges, stealth characteristics and agility being among key features of those systems. Not much was told about systems adopted to increase agility, “different technological bricks being used” was the answer, although these might involve i.e. thrust vectoring. Both the supersonic and the subsonic missile feature short wings, the seeker system being foreseen as a combination of infrared, microwave and other technologies. To ensure maximum penetration capabilities the missiles might also carry an electronic warfare suite, both being network enabled.

The target set differs, the subsonic being more aimed at attacks against high value targets such as very hardened infrastructures and well defended bunkers, while the supersonic version is aimed also at moving targets such as ships, as well as at destructing enemy air defences. No details were given on the size of the warheads, which will definitely be of the scalable type. It is however to stress once again that both systems are in a conceptual stage, and that the outcome of this study might be quite different from the models exhibited at the Paris Air Show. As for the timeframe, MBDA indicates 2030+.

Pictorial courtesy MBDA; photos by Paolo Valpolini