Ground Warfare

Saab and MBDA to Strengthen Co-operation Under A New Strategic Partnership

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Saab and MBDA to Strengthen Co-operation Under A New Strategic Partnership

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Akeron MP network-enabled anti-tank guided missile system
Akeron MP network-enabled anti-tank guided missile system

Sweden and France have expressed their desire to strengthen their defence co-operation under a new strategic partnership signed on 30 January as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Sweden. Anti-tank and air defence have been identified as priority areas for co-operation. In this context, a major new step has been taken in the relationship between the two countries. On 31 January, Micael Johansson and Eric Béranger, the CEOs of Saab and MBDA, expressed their willingness to support this process in the fields of anti-tank and air defence, two capabilities identified as particularly critical for the armed forces of both countries, especially in the context of high-intensity conflicts. They signed Letters of Intent to strengthen the co-operation between their companies in these two fields, at the Business Forum organised in the presence of the highest French and Swedish authorities.

Eric Béranger CEO of MBDA, said: “This is an exciting new step in our long-standing partnership with Saab. We are both world leaders in the anti-tank and air defence domains and we will be combining our expertise to deliver the best capabilities for the armed forces on the battlefield. The signature of these Letters of Intent is further proof that co-operation lies at the very heart of MBDA’s values.”

“The closeness between Saab and MBDA is reflected in our co-operation over many years, and the deepening and broadening of that through these Letters of Intent is most welcome. Doing this here in Stockholm during the state visit by President Macron to Sweden is symbolic of how two European governments working together can facilitate industry in strengthening our collective security,” said Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab.

Saab CEO right of centre and MBDA CEO left of centre at signing witnessed by Swedish Minister for Defence right and French left Minister for the Armed Forces

Saab CEO right of centre and MBDA CEO left of centre at signing witnessed by Swedish Minister for Defence right and French left Minister for the Armed Forces. (Photo by MBDA)

Co-operation in the anti-tank field has resulted in an initial focus on the AKERON MP. A first contract has been awarded to Saab and MBDA by the DGA, the French contracting entity, and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV – Försvarets Materielverk). The Akeron MP (Akeron Moyenne Portée) is a French fifth generation, network-enabled, anti-tank guided missile system. Featuring both fire-and-forget and command guidance operating modes, it also integrates third party target designation for indirect firing scenarios through its lock-on after launch capability for non-line-of-sight (NLOS) use. the Akeron MP was developed by MBDA France and is intended as a replacement for the MILAN and American-made FGM-148 Javelin. It is designed for dismounted infantry (being man-portable) as well as for integration on combat vehicles and has a firing range of up to 5 km.

This will enable the pooling of Saab and MBDA’s expertise in the anti-tank domain, in order to support the Swedish and French armed forces’ choice of the AKERON MP weapon system in the short term. This will also enable the implementation of a joint capability roadmap to develop new functionalities associated in particular with beyond line-of-sight firing, and also to prepare the missile to address the future generation of targets that will arrive on the battlefield. This roadmap will maintain AKERON MP’s position as the benchmark weapon in its field, and an indispensable tool in high-intensity conflicts. Saab and MBDA are long-standing partners, as illustrated by their co-operation on the Meteor air-to-air missile programme and the TAURUS cruise missile, as well as in the European MARSEUS consortium that aims to provide a sovereign European beyond line-of-sight missile firing capability.

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