Langkawi. 25 March 2017.MBDA is one of the very few companies in the sector that can supply a choice of guided weapons systems to all three of the armed services – air force, navy and army. With MBDA’s extensive product catalogue, the company’s approach has never been ‘one size fits all’ but rather one of selecting the product exactly in line with a customer’s operational requirements and delivery expectations. During Lima 2017, the company will demonstrate how this choice is available to Malaysia’s armed forces in the area of naval and ground based air defence. In this respect, two SAM products will have a high profile on MBDA’s stand, these will be in the shape of two systems featuring the VL MICA and CAMM missiles with their greater than 20km range
National ship builder Boustead, is currently working on the six, stealth Littoral Combat Ships (based on the DCNS Gowind 2500 design selected to meet the RMN’s SGPV requirement). In February 2017, the keel was laid for the second ship and the first is scheduled for delivery in the next couple of years or so. The LCS programme is allowing MBDA to continue its longstanding history of working with Boustead with the fitting of a 16 cell VL MICA system onboard the new ship. Deployed from a DCNS Sylver launcher, VL MICA, selected by Malaysia in 2015, will give the LCS a highly effective, all-weather, high rate of fire capability to defend against even the most aggressive of saturating anti-ship attacks. From fast combat aircraft to, sea-skimming anti-ship and cruise missiles – VL MICA will keep the host ship and those within the local area safe.
Featuring the same operational performance advantages as VL MICA but in a soft-launch missile known as CAMM (Common Anti-air Modular Missile), MBDA has recently added a totally new naval based air defence capability to its range . This capability known as Sea Ceptor and deploying CAMM, has already been ordered by several export countries and is currently replacing the VL Seawolf systems on the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Duke class of 13 Type 23 frigates. Rapid progress is being made and the first few vessels have already received their Sea Ceptor ship sets.
The soft vertical launch feature (a gas-powered piston ejects the CAMM missile some 30m into the air before the rocket motor engages), as well as giving the missile an enhanced short range performance, allows for extremely simple fitting as no below deck exhaust removal system is required. It is also a very compact missile and four CAMM missiles could be packed into the same space as that occupied by one VL Seawolf. Being equipped with an active RF seeker (CAMM has a two-way data link with the launcher and third party targeting can also be used), Sea Ceptor is compatible with any 3D surveillance radar and does not require a dedicated tracking system on the ship.
Of course since 1999, with the commissioning of the the Kapal DiRaja Lekiu and Kapal DiRaja Jebat frigates, the Type 23 has also played an important role within the RMN. These are undergoing an SELP (Service Life Extension Programme) and MBDA is keen to show the logistics advantages for the RMN to follow the RN route by replacing Seawolf with Sea Ceptor. The UK’s plan is to eventually transfer Sea Ceptor to its eight Type 26’s (the GCS) as this new class replaces the Type 23, so customers for this new weapon can be assured that it will be supported and evolved for at least the next 30 years or so.
Both VL MICA and CAMM are equally suited for the ground based air defence (GBAD) role. In this respect, MBDA will be supplying the UK with the CAMM missile as a replacement for its Rapier FSC system. Therefore, MBDA’s display at LIMA 2017 will promote EMADS (a GBAD system deploying the same CAMM missile as within Sea Ceptor) to show how Malaysia’s armed forces could equally benefit from the same missile commonality, should it chose the MBDA solution to replace its Jernas systems ordered back in 2002 (Jernas is the export name for the UK’s Rapier FSC).