DSTL awards complex weapons deal to MBDA

The UK’s Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has awarded a new contract to pan-European missile and defence systems manufacturer MBDA to lead on the new Complex Weapons Innovations and Technology Partnership (CW ITP).

In a July 19 announcement DSTL stated that the CW ITP is a major Anglo-French programme for missile research and development and will see MBDA act as prime to coordinate with suppliers in the UK and France on its behalf, as well as the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA).

Hoplite missile
The award will see MBDA continue its research into new missile designs and technologies. MBDA

The CW ITP is worth £40m over four years, with Dstl, DGA and UK and French industries all contributing towards this total amount.

The contract follows on from the work of the Materials and Components for Missiles Innovation Technology Partnership (MCM ITP) over the last 13 years, with the CW ITP intended to identify and develop technologies to enhance complex weapons capability in both nations for the 2030s and beyond.

DSTL's Platform Systems Division head, Matt Chinn said: “The new framework… will see a sharp focus on five Enduring Technical Areas [ETAs] identified as unique and critical to the field of complex weapons. The capability improvements and potential disruptors will help deliver battle-winning and generation-after-next missile technologies, sustaining UK and France’s industrial and scientific base.”

Research will be split across industrial competency, and will see MBDA responsible for efforts into material, structure, electronic and mission systems, Thales and Leonardo UK for seeker technology, Safran and Roxel UK focus on propulsion, and Thales UK and French alternative energies and atomic energy commission CEA for lethality.

The CW ITP effort will also look to fund more “disruptive ideas” through short, three-to-six-month technology projects that, whilst at the smaller end of funding, carry a high risk of not being successful but high reward if they are.

Ed Dodwell, the Head of CW ITP, said: “Technology on its own, without a concept for use becomes redundant. Concepts that never materialise beyond that are opportunities missed. [The] CW ITP addresses this by having the best experts working together, linking up the technology push of innovation with the market pull of complex weapons.”