French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly has announced that MBDA is to develop the Future Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile (MAST-F) programme as the main French Army air to ground armament for the Tiger combat helicopter.

According to the firm, MBDA was selected after proposing to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA – French Procurement Agency) its MHT/MLP concept (Missile Haut de Trame / Missile Longue Portée – high tier missile / long-range mobile missile) that builds on the technologies of the mid-range MMP.

“Its modular architecture enables easy integration of the MHT/MLP onto a variety of land or air combat platforms in addition to the Tiger. The MHT/MLP is characterised by its high operational effectiveness. Weighing 20% less than other missiles in its category provides a weight saving of nearly 100 kg for the Tiger helicopter, which can carry up to eight missiles in combat configuration. Exploiting this weight saving increases the Tiger’s fuel capacity and so its combat endurance, with a significant gain in time.

The MHT/MLP has a range of over 8 km, even when fired from a stationary platform at low altitude. Its multi-effect warhead can handle a wide variety of targets, from modern battle tanks to hardened combat infrastructure. The MHT/MLP performs day or night, including in beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) mode, with a two-way data link that sends images from the missile’s high-resolution visible and infrared optronic seeker back to the operator. The crew of the Tiger can use this imagery to choose the missile’s point of impact or to select a new target in flight, making the weapon suitable for fluid battlefield situations.”

Commenting on the launch of the programme, MBDA CEO Eric Béranger stated:

“The MHT/MLP missile combines new technologies, developed with the support of the DGA, with the tried and tested components of the MMP, making it an effector at the forefront of today’s tactical land combat missiles. It offers a flexibility of use unmatched in today’s armed forces, while minimising development risks. And with its all-European design authority, the MHT/MLP programme will fully contribute to the strategic autonomy objectives set by France and the European Union.”

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Paul T
Paul T (@guest_529142)
5 months ago

Am i right in this being another Duplication of a Weapon System,where Spear or Brimstone offer the same Capability ?.

Tenordream (@guest_529154)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Duplication in concept yes, but not duplication in origin. They’ll be wanting it to help French manufacturers, same as Brimstone helps UK ones.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard (@guest_529162)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Not really. This has an imaging infra red seeker (presumably from MMP) which is more suitable for the task, although it does include a data link like Spear 3. Optimised in range and warhead size for the primary anti armour role and borrowing from MMP, it will be significantly cheaper than Spear and might even be cheaper than Brimstone. So I guess makes sense for the French.

expat (@guest_529386)
5 months ago

But here the problem things get cheaper the more you buy, simple economies of scale. Europe will never compete with the US unless it changes its mindset. Its better for UK and French factories to produce 50% of the overall work and have product that’s cheaper and competitive in the market and can be exported. Securing an export mean both factories actually produce more than their original 50% benefiting the French and UK economies = more GDP = more money for defence. Plus both get a less expensive missile so defence budget goes further and you can buy more of… Read more »

Daveyb (@guest_529287)
5 months ago

I remember reading somewhere that the UK and France had made an agreement, whereby the French would purchase Brimstone for their Tigers and we would purchase MMP to replace Javelin. Though I can’t remember where I read it! I know the French Airforce were seriously impressed with Brimstone’s performance in Libya and Iraq and are trying to lobby their MPs to purchase it for Rafale.

Jack (@guest_529579)
5 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Wishful thinking.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_530308)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Certainly a lack of joined up thinking here.

We half get there with projects like Storm Shadow and Meteor, but if we fully cooperated with the each other and bought and developed a high end (generally better than US products) to equip both armed forces…….

The benefits to both Europe’s premier armed forces and defence industries are obvious..

We might not have joint airframe, but fully integrated weapon systems development and procurement is certainly doable.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_530632)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

The problem is that while we are quite good at developing good things we then don’t upgrade them frequently enough for them to remain relevant.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis (@guest_531703)
5 months ago

Was there an issue with Brimstone? I guess Spear 3 and Sea Venom are overkill, but there seems to be a mass of lightweight missiles coming out of Europe these days. Surely it’s all duplication of effort. Or pork, that’s likely now I think about it.