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A Matra missile in the Euromissile pie.

A Matra Missile in the Euromissile Pie

At a meeting held in Paris last May, both the Aerospatiale and MBB partners of the Euromissile consortium provided an overview of the status of the Milan, HOT and Roland programmes and a round-up on the various improvements currently being devised to enable these three weapon systems to match future threats.

The Milan 2T, which is due to enter service in 1991, constitutes the third step in the evolution of this anti-armour weapon. As implied by its designation, it will carry a tandem warhead, the front one of which has a relatively small diameter and is housed in a telescopic probe which extends forward of the missile after launch. The aim of the programme is to provide a round that will both defeat reactive armour and retain full compatibility with earlier launchers. Commercially and tactically, the latter aspect is of paramount importance since the system has been sold to some 38 countries. The fourth stage in the Milan history will be the Milan 3 which is currently being developed with French and German funding. This will include a new decoy-proof infrared link between the missile and the launcher. Interchangeability with all earlier missiles will also be retained.

Like the Milan, the HOT system has received quite a number of improvements. Next on the list are a lighter and digitised launcher for 1991 followed in 1992 by a tandem-warhead round capable of penetrating 1250 mm of reactive armour, a new thermal camera and increased protection against jamming.

Roland 3

The Roland 3 short-range air defence system will have a new firing unit called Glaive and will launch a Matra Missile - the RM5. In order to forestall any short-term speculation or questions regarding Matra's involvement in the consortium Noel Forgeard, the head of Matra Defense, has made it very clear that his company was not becoming a member of the Euromissile group, adding wrily that it did not intend to move into the anti-tank missile business either. "Matra will only develop and manufacture the new missile for the Roland" he said, and, stressing that Euromissile's move is a logical one: "We have now gained considerable experience in surface-to-air missiles, particularly through the development of the Mistral systems and our close cooperation with Thomson-CSF on the Crotale".

The Roland 3 will have to fulfil six requirements: * hardening of the system against electronic and infrared countermeasures, both in surveillance mode and in the tracking/firing mode * increasing the system's performance against new-generation stealth helicopters, the highly manoeuvrable tactical ground attack aeroplanes which are now appearing and smart missiles and drones * reducing the operators' workload by simplifying the man-machine interface * allowing the Roland to be integrated into a [C.sup.3I] network * ensuring compatibility with previous generation Rolands and enabling these to be upgraded to Roland 3 specifications (over 600 Rolands are in service in ten countries). * remaining operational until 2010

These goals will be achieved with the introduction of three new elements: * The Glaive system, which is designed to replace the current electro-optical sensors and to complement the surveillance and firing radars in a passive mode in heavy electronic counter-measures environment. * The BKS, a new management system made up of three sub-systems linked together through a data bus and consisting of a command and guidance computer, a coordination computer and a new operations and control panel. * The RM5 (Roland Mach 5) missile. The round will have a higher altitude capability (over 7500 metres), a high resistance to electronic and infrared countermeasures, and a high degree of manoeuvrability to counter cruise and tactical missiles.


* RM5 Preliminary design: 1990-mid-1991 Flight testing: 1992-early 1994

* Glaive/BKS Prototype delivery; end 1992 End of development: end 1995

Full production: mid-1996
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Publication:Armada International
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Previous Article:A successor to the AMX 13: the Mars 15.
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