EU Defence ministers have endorsed on 19 November the EU BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) project amongst a list of 17 defence projects aiming at being implemented in the frame of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Proposed by France and supported by Belgium and Cyprus, the EU BLOS project is the first missile system project to benefit from this new cooperation framework. Promoting a differentiating operational capability for military operations, this project will contribute to a consistent and autonomous European approach in the land combat domain whilst enhancing the qualitative contribution of European nations to the achievement of NATO’s level of ambition. The land combat domain has been recognized since June 2018 as one of the 11 European capability priorities.
The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities. Based on the MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée, Medium-Range Missile) missile system, this family of products will be fully mastered by European industry, which provides full autonomy of use, security of supply and future evolutions, to the benefit of the 25 PESCO member nations. One of the first priorities of this project will focus on defining a European doctrine of use and its associated concepts of operation. This project will pave the way for the creation of a European users club which will develop the growth potential of the MMP missile system in terms of missile evolutions as well as in terms of integration to a wide range of land and air platforms.
MMP Missile Moyenne Portée (Missile Moyenne Portée) is a French man-portable medium-range anti-tank guided missile. It was developed by MBDA Missile Systems and is intended as a replacement for their MILAN, which has been sold worldwide. Particular developments over existing missiles were for it to be safe for operators within a confined space, i.e. reduced backblast on launch, and for improved guidance that could target non-IR cold targets as well as AFVs with a reduced risk of collateral damage. Despite these new features, it was still to remain effective against modern AFV and MBT armour. A tandem warhead is used, making it effective against conventional, composite and reactive armour. Upon detonation, the warhead also sprays 1,500 tungsten splinters, effective against personnel out to 15 meters.
The EU BLOS project will also benefit from the CAMO (Capacité Motorisée) bilateral strategic partnership between France and Belgium, helping build operational and capability synergies across the armies of both nations. On October 25th, 2018, Belgium’s Prime Minister, Mr. Charles MICHEL, has officially confirmed the intergovernmental deal concluded with France on the Capacité Motorisée (CaMo – Motorized Capability) program, which aimed at modernizing Belgium’s land mobility capabilities. The agreement confirmed on October 25th covers the acquisition of 442 Scorpion vehicles, which combine the expertise of ARQUUS, Nexter and Thales. A total of 382 Griffon (Multi-Role Armored Vehicles) and Jaguar (Wheeled Canon Armored Vehicles), identical to the French Army’s, will replace the Piranha 3C and Dingo II currently in service in the Belgian Motorized Brigade.