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Dubai Airshow 2023: MBDA to develop and build ‘smart missiles’ in UAE

14th November 2023 - 13:53 GMT | by Norbert Neumann in London


The Missile Engineering Centre has aimed to strengthen MBDA’s partnership with the UAE. (Photo: MBDA)

In a bid to bolster its strategic partnership with the UAE and further its missile capabilities, MBDA established the UAE Missile Engineering Centre earlier this year from where it will produce so-called 'smart weapons'.

MBDA has said it will design, develop and manufacture ‘smart missile’ capabilities at its UAE Missile Engineering Centre.

The multinational missile developer inaugurated the site in June this year with an objective to strengthen its partnership with the Gulf nation and establish a base for joint development of missile systems. The centre was established as a collaboration between MBDA and Tawazun Council, which oversees governmental defence, security research and developmental programmes in the UAE, including dual-use applications, for the country’s Ministry of Defense.

An MBDA official told Shephard at the Dubai Airshow 2023 that the company has planned to cater to potential export clients from the new centre. Initially, however, the weapons manufactured at the facility will primarily be intended for the UAE armed forces.

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The representatives said the type of system first produced will be the so-called ‘smart family’ of missiles, including ‘smart gliders’ and ‘smart cruisers’, with tangible results expected to be seen in early 2024.

MBDA has also demonstrated its Orchestrike collaborative combat effectors product at the international defence trade fair. The solution, currently under development, involves connectivity, software architecture and algorithms, including AI with humans in the loop.

In this context, collaborative effector systems referred to missile systems with the ability to exchange information regarding the battlefield as they close in on targets, effectively coordinating their manoeuvres to outmatch opponents, MBDA said.

The Orchestrike concept will be expected to involve the use of expandable remote carriers (ERC) and cruise missiles. MBDA said it had outlined plans to initially integrate some of these functionalities onto loitering munitions by 2028. These platforms could be produced in house or by third parties, the company added. 

Shephard's Dubai Airshow 2023 coverage is sponsored by:

World Defense Show
Norbert Neumann


Norbert Neumann

Norbert is the Aviation, Military Training & Simulation reporter at Shephard Media. Before joining Shephard in …

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