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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. The company was selected after proposing to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) its Missile Haut de Trame / Missile Longue Portée – high tier missile / long-range mobile missile (MHT/MLP concept) that builds on the technologies of the mid-range MMP, the first 5th generation land combat missile to enter service in the world.

Its modular architecture enables easy integration of the MHT/MLP onto a variety of land or air combat platforms in addition to the TIGER. Weighing 20 per cent 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, therefore its combat endurance, with a significant gain in “Playtime”.

TIGER MAST-F Enhancement

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 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 said: “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.

Jack Richardson