MBDA Conducts Successful Demonstrations of New Bunker Buster Warhead

The sec­ond test fir­ing of the Hard and Deeply Buried Tar­get (HARDBUT) Next Gen­er­a­tion Mul­ti­ple War­head Sys­tem (NGMWS) was car­ried out suc­cess­ful­ly at the Bis­car­rosse test range of DGA Essais de Mis­siles on 14th Sep­tem­ber 2010. The HARDBUT Tech­nol­o­gy Demon­stra­tion Pro­gramme (TDP) is a suc­cess­ful war­head research pro­gramme joint­ly fund­ed by the UK MoD and French Direc­tion Générale de l’Armement (DGA) with MBDA UK as the Prime Con­trac­tor. The NGMWS is designed to defeat a wide range of tar­gets such as com­mand and con­trol facil­i­ties, infra­struc­ture and under­ground facil­i­ties includ­ing caves, reflect­ing cur­rent and poten­tial future operations. 

MBDA Conducts Successful Demonstrations of New Bunker Buster Warhead. (c) MBDA
MBDA Con­ducts Suc­cess­ful Demon­stra­tions of New Bunker Buster War­head. © MBDA
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The fir­ing was car­ried out using a rep­re­sen­ta­tive mis­sile air­frame on the long rock­et sled test track at Bis­car­rosse. The live Pre­cur­sor Charge (PC) was det­o­nat­ed just in front of the mas­sive con­crete tar­get and the inert Fol­low-Through Bomb (FTB) pen­e­trat­ed through and exit­ed the rear face of the tar­get, demon­strat­ing a pen­e­tra­tion capa­bil­i­ty sig­nif­i­cant­ly in excess of any war­head cur­rent­ly pro­duced by MBDA. The tri­al was also designed to assess the robust­ness of the com­pact Ruggedi­zed Elec­tron­ic In-line Fuze (REIF) which will incor­po­rate embed­ded smart fuz­ing algo­rithms. The tar­get and tri­al set-up were designed to be oper­a­tional­ly representative. 

This tri­al builds upon the suc­cess­ful 1st tri­al con­duct­ed at the Bis­car­rosse test range on the 18th May 2010, where the nov­el con­cepts under­pin­ning the NGMWS design were suc­cess­ful­ly demonstrated. 

The TDP is being joint­ly man­aged by the UK MoD (DE&S) and the French MoD (DGA), sup­port­ed by Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Lab­o­ra­to­ry (DSTL) and the Com­mis­sari­at à l’Energie Atom­ique et aux éner­gies alter­na­tives, Cen­tre de Gra­mat (CEA Gra­mat), and suc­cess­ful­ly deliv­ered by MBDA teams in the UK and in France, Thales Mis­sile Elec­tron­ics (TME), Qine­tiQ, BAE Sys­tems Glob­al Com­bat Sys­tems Muni­tions (GCSM) and Flu­id Grav­i­ty Engi­neer­ing (FGE). The TDP has pre­vi­ous­ly been inde­pen­dent­ly audit­ed by Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty and assessed as deliv­er­ing research of a world class standing. 

The MBDA team has now twice suc­cess­ful­ly demon­strat­ed the per­for­mance of this new war­head design by per­fo­ra­tion of mas­sive con­crete tar­gets, togeth­er with suc­cess­ful recov­ery of the inert FTB and fuze from the cap­ture butt. This rep­re­sents the suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of the sec­ond stage of this TDP, prov­ing the war­head con­cept and enhanc­ing MBDA’s world lead­ing capa­bil­i­ty in war­head design. A third and final prov­ing tri­al will con­clude the TDP research objectives. 

Notes to edi­tors

With indus­tri­al facil­i­ties in four Euro­pean coun­tries and with­in the USA, MBDA has an annu­al turnover of €2.6 bil­lion and an order book of €12 bil­lion. With more than 90 armed forces cus­tomers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in mis­siles and mis­sile systems. 

MBDA is the only group capa­ble of design­ing and pro­duc­ing mis­siles and mis­sile sys­tems that cor­re­spond to the full range of cur­rent and future oper­a­tional needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). In total, the group offers a range of 45 mis­sile sys­tems and coun­ter­mea­sures prod­ucts already in oper­a­tional ser­vice and more than 15 oth­ers cur­rent­ly in development. 

MBDA is joint­ly held by BAE SYSTEMS (37,5%), EADS (37,5%) and FINMECCANICA (25%).


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