MBDA Unveiled UK’s Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) Concept

The UK’s Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has disclosed details regarding the proposed roll-out of the British Army’s next-generation anti-tank capability, called the Battle Group Organic Anti-Armour (BGOAA) programme. BGOAA is split across four areas: a Close-In Self Defence (CISD) capability, a long-range Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) capability akin to the Swingfire system of the past, and mounted and dismounted Close Combat Anti-Armour Weapons (CCAAW), which will form the successor to the in-service Javelin.

The MCCO is the first sub-programme to be actively pursued because of emerging requirements from the army. The Dstl is prioritising the MCCO capability with Lockheed Martin, MBDA and Thales, all providing insight into potential concepts. A key part of the architecture is to enable platforms to accommodate any missile or rapid adaption to different missile systems.The project aims to deliver commonality between effectors and launchers to drive down costs while allowing a smaller, more dispersed British force to achieve overmatch against peer threats into the 2050s.

MBDA's Boxer Brimstone Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) concept
MBDA’s Boxer Brimstone Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) concept

MBDA insight into potential concepts, including a Boxer-mounted VLS system previously covered by Army Technology and an Ajax vehicle equipped with a 50kg missile such as Brimstone. The MCCO is envisioned as a long-range anti-armour capability that would engage targets at a range of 10km and above, with threats cued by third-party systems within a battle group. Current work envisions the system carrying 50kg effectors – for example, the weight of a Brimstone missile – but concept work has also explored the potential of effectors up to 80kg in weight.

Brimstone is a ground or air-launched ground attack missile developed by MBDA UK for Britain’s Royal Air Force. It was originally intended for “fire-and-forget” use against mass formations of enemy armour, using a millimetric wave (mmW) active radar homing seeker to ensure accuracy even against moving targets. The missile was originally supposed to be an evolution of the original laser AGM-114 Hellfire, with the laser seeker replaced by a millimetre wave (mmW) seeker. Brimstone I flies at high subsonic speed and can reach ranges of at least 20 km (Brimstone II: 40-60 km).

General Dynamics Land Systems UK AJAX-Brimstone Overwatch Variant
MBDA’s AJAX Brimstone Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) concept

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