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MSI Defence Systems showcased its Terrahawk Paladin mobile, deployable very-short-range air defence (VSHORAD) system at DSEI 2023, held in London from 12-15 September.

The Terrahawk Paladin system sees MSI use its gun mount integration expertise to combine sensors and effectors onto a single platform that can be deployed to remotely defend high-value targets and critical infrastructure against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and fast incoming air targets. Typically the system would be used to ‘defend the defender’, such as providing VSHORAD protection for assets such as deployed High Mobility Artillery Rockets Systems or Common Anti-Air Modular Missile systems.

David Codling, MSI’s business development director, said at DSEI 2023 that the Terrahawk Paladin system has gone from initially mounting effectors and sensors on the same platform to one that could be deployed on a NATO-standard Demountable Rack Offload and Pickup System (DROPS) rack, as shown at DSEI 2023. The next stage, he said, would be to mount the system onto a standard 6×6 truck.

MSI Defence Systems’ Terrahawk Paladin mobile, deployable VSHORAD system at DSEI 2023. (Photo: P Felstead)

The Terrahawk Paladin system displayed at DSEI 2023 used a Bushmaster 30 mm Mk 44 autocannon with dual-feed ammunition system as its effector, although the concept is essentially effector agnostic. The DSEI example also featured the MSI-DS Surveillance Acquisition Targeting Optical System (SATOS) as well as components supplied by Poland’s Advanced Protection Systems (API), which provides its SKYctrl counter-UAV system. The latter includes four mast-mounted X-band active electronically scanned-array radars providing 360-degree coverage, a soft-kill UAV jammer and a command-and-control system, among other components.

Maciej Klemm, APS’ CEO and co-founder, told ESD at DSEI 2023 that its association with MSI on the Terrahawk Paladin system was the company’s most significant hard-kill team-up to date and that the two companies “have very ambitious plans together”. He said of the MSI teaming, “There is a natural synergy: we are providing the best and so are they. We are in a very strong position together and we are showing that on the battlefield as well.”

Klemm noted that APS’ radars, which have no reliance on imported technology and comprise entirely the company’s own intellectual property, feature “best-in-class algorithms” to distinguish small air targets through a high level of clutter mitigation.

MSI’s Codling said that the Terrahawk Paladin has two customers so far, including a Middle Eastern customer likely to order additional systems. ESD understands that the other customer is almost certainly Ukraine (editor’s note: this was confirmed on 11 October in a UK Ministry of Defence press release).

Regions that have witnessed the successful use of loitering munitions and ‘kamikaze UAVs’ are strong potential markets for the Terrahawk Paladin system, said Codling, including East European countries witnessing events in Ukraine and Middle Eastern countries that have seen their infrastructure attacked by UAVs launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Peter Felstead