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New anti-tank missiles for the Belgian Armed Forces and the development of European BLOS capabilities

By Christos Loizou (Finabel - European Army Interoperability Centre)

The Belgian Armed Forces will be supplied with 761 Akeron MP missiles. They will be integrated into Jaguar EBRC vehicles procured by Belgium under the Capacités Motorisée (CaMo) partnership. Delivery will begin in 2025 and is expected to continue until 2029. The new missiles are intended to replace Spike missiles, which will probably remain in service until 2030.

 

Akeron MP (or Missile Moyenne Portée, MMP) is MBDA’s fifth-generation missile based on AI technology. The range of the missile, according to the company, is 4000 m. It weighs 15 kg, its tactical canister’s length is 1.3 m and the diameter is 140 mm. Its’ tandem warhead can destroy 1000mm of RHA and all-generation ERA. It offers Fire & Forget and Man-On-The-Loop modes, day and night capability and multipurpose munition with anti-tank, anti-infrastructure and anti-personnel selectable modes.

Akeron MP has already been successfully tested on Jaguar EBRC vehicles. The first firing took place in France in April 2021. Tests have also been carried out on other vehicles and platforms. In December 2022, Akeron MP missile was fired from a CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in Sweden.

 

 

Akeron MP is also linked to the development of European defence capabilities and the promotion of interoperability between European Armed Forces. The missile is part of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) LynkEUs, which aims to define a preliminary concept of operations for a Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) European capability. The strengthening of BLOS capabilities of European Armies is extremely important for the detection and neutralisation of targets located at a long distance and beyond the visual horizon.

The programme involves companies from France, Belgium and Cyprus as well as partners from Sweden and Estonia. As part of the programme, Akeron MP missiles were fired in Cyprus from the French Arquus’ SHERPA with an IMPACT turret in September 2022. The system offers two firing modes: Fire-and-forget with LOBL (Lock-On-Before-Launch) and LOAL (Lock-On-After Launch), where target designation is done by NX-70 drone when the target is Beyond Line of Sight.

Based on the LynkEUs program is also the European Defence Fund (EDF) Modular Architecture Solution for EU States (MARSEUS) programme which aims to develop a collaborative close combat architecture enhancing existing missile systems with a Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) capability.

 

 

Akeron MP NAVAL and Akeron LP (former Missile Haut de Trame, MHT) versions can be integrated into maritime and air platforms, respectively. At the EURONAVAL 2022 exhibition in France, MBDA and NEXTER presented a new version of the NARWHAL turret already used by several countries’ navies, which features two pods for Akeron MP missiles. In addition, in October 2022, France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) announced that the Akeron LP missile had been selected to equip the Eurodrone.

The French Armed Forces and the Egyptian Special Forces already use the Akeron MP missile. In addition to Belgium also Luxembourg and Sweden have placed orders.

In conclusion, the supply of Jaguar vehicles in Belgium was made under the CaMo programme and the Akeron MP missile is part of the efforts to develop BLOS capabilities under the LynkEUs programme. This acknowledges that the joint efforts to strengthen the partnership and interoperability between the European Armed Forces can lead to significant reinforcement of capabilities at both national and European level.

 

This article was originally published on the website of Finabel – European Army Interoperability Centre.

 

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