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According to a contract award notice on the EU’s Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) website, Luxembourg has awarded a contract to the MBDA for “Missile Moyenne Portée” (MMP; also known as ‘Akeron MP’) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). The TED notice does not state the number of missiles contracted, but it does give the contract value as EUR 31.5 M. This figure presumably also includes missiles, launchers and any required training/ancillary equipment.

The Akeron MP was developed by MBDA as a replacement for the MILAN family of ATGMs in French service. It is a lightweight, multi-purpose ATGM, with a weight of approximately 15 kg, including the launch tube, and a range in excess of 4,000 m. The light weight and compact dimensions allows the Akeron MP to be employed by dismounted troops as well as from vehicles.

The missile uses a fire-and-forget guidance system, where the user acquires the target, locks the missile on to the target and fires. The missile’s infrared (IR) homing seeker enables it to home in on the target autonomously, with no further input needed, thereby allowing the user to immediately leave the firing position. In addition, the Akeron MP is equipped with a fibre-optic cable link back to the launcher, giving it a so-called ‘man-in-the-loop’ mode, where the missile is launched without being locked on to a specific target. Images from the missile seeker are transmitted, via the fibre-optic cable, back to the user, who can then observe the target area, and lock the missile on to a particular target, switch targets mid-flight or abort the fire mission. The user can even select a particular aimpoint on the chosen target. This also allows the missile to engage targets behind obstacles and, if engaging heavily armoured targets such as main battle tanks, to use a top attack flight profile, wherein the missile impacts the thinner top armour of the target.

Further increasing the multi-purpose nature of the missile is the tandem-HEAT multi-purpose warhead, which enables the missile to effectively engage a wide range of battlefield targets, including heavy and medium armour, bunkers and other structures, small naval vessels and infantry in the open. The missile is also provided with a reduced-backblast launch system, giving it a reduced launch signature and allowing it to be launched from enclosed spaces, for example during urban combat.

Thomas Nielsen