MBDA Germany shows indirect JFS-M SAM with loitering EMP warhead

BERLIN ($1=0.95 Euros) — At the ILA 2022 air show in Berlin, MBDA Deutschland launched the premiere of Joint Fire Support Missile, i.e. JFS-M. So far, however, models with dimensions and mass have been shown, as the system itself does not yet exist.

MBDA Germany shows indirect JFS-M SAM with loitering EMP warhead
Photo credit: Twitter

What can be seen this year in the ILA 2022 showroom is a true representation of the system, both in terms of the launcher and the rocket itself. So what is at stake is the optimization of the system design in the course of its future development studies, not a complete design change.

MBDA Deutschland is developing a Joint Fire Support Missile [JFS-M] as its solution within the Zukünftigen Systems des Indirekten Feuers [ZukSysIndirF, future indirect fire system]. The MARS II missile launchers will be accepted for the role of JFS-M launchers as the M270 MLRS in Germany. However, the main proposal for the Bundeswehr involves the use of modernized MARS II launchers, adapted to launch GMLRS missiles, ie. MARS-E. Currently, the maximum range of their fire under optimal conditions can reach 84 km. According to current plans, the service life of MARS II launchers will be extended to allow their operation until around 2035.

The JFS-M system must be an executive part of the unified reconnaissance and strike system, or as defined by the Sensor-to-Shooter system. Such a system minimizes the time between the detection and identification of the target and its launch. The means of reconnaissance and destruction are part of the same network-centered communication and command system.

JFS-M provides effective damage to surface targets at distances of approximately 250 ÷ 300 km. So, first of all, JFS-M must have adequate coverage. Second, its targeting system is designed to detect, identify, and target a wide range of targets. MBDA Deutschland announces that it is developing new software to monitor the operation of optoelectronic guidance systems. The software must use artificial intelligence algorithms that will allow automatic target recognition [so-called ATR – Automatic Target Recognition].

MBDA Germany shows indirect JFS-M SAM with loitering EMP warhead
Photo credit: Twitter

In practice, the development of the JFS-M uses as a starting point the achievements of the Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile program. Both in terms of the overall structure of the missile [propulsion, aerodynamic system, radar signature limitation] and in terms of its guidance system . MBDA Deutschland also announces that the JFS-M will have a multi-purpose warhead with adjustable power [it can be set to detonate in the range of 10 to 100% of the transmitted explosive power] if the operating conditions of the JFS-M require, for example, limiting concomitant damage. The chapter will be developed by the subsidiary MBDA Deutschland, ie. TDW Gesellschaft für verteidigungstechnische Wirksysteme mbH. The missile must have a modular warhead, optionally instead of an explosive warhead, it must carry an electronic warhead [possibly EMP] or WRE apparatus.

MBDA Deutschland suggests that JFS-M will also be able to be used to a limited extent as the so-called loitering ammunition, i.e. will be able to circulate [or spend more time in the air] over an area. But rather, in practice, it should be used to optimize the route to the destination [avoiding air defense concentration zones, making it difficult to detect a flying projectile, etc.]. MBDA Deutschland also announces that the missile’s on-board navigation and communication systems will be characterized by increased resistance to WRE measures compared to the missiles currently used in this class.

The guidance system must be multi-channel and use optoelectronic sensors [day and heat channel], radar and passive sensors that detect electromagnetic radiation. The combined guidelines are to make the use of JFS-M independent of weather conditions.

The missile must be equipped with a two-way radio link for the exchange of data for launch vehicle, missile-missile, missile-aircraft, missile-C4ISR [UAV, satellite]. So far, the following technical and tactical data have been disclosed: flight speed – subsonic [in the range Ma = 0.4 ÷ 0.9] and range – standard in the range of 1 ÷ 300 km; maximum 499 km.

The future of the ZukSysIndirF program and the JFS-M missile depends on the decisions of the Federal Ministry of Defense [BMVg]. So far, MBDA Deutschland has signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik GmbH.

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