South Australia-based composite materials manufacturer Airspeed has marked an important milestone, delivering its first composite prototype missile launch tube as part of a contract with MBDA for the MMP (Missile Moyenne Portee)
The other company seeking to offer missiles for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project is Israeli firm Rafael with its Spike LR2, a development of its widely used Spike ATGW.
MBDA has chosen Queensland's Ferra Engineering while Rafael has partnered with NSW’s Varley Australia in hopes of providing their products to the winning bidder of the LAND 400 Phase 2 project.
Airspeed designs and manufactures composite structures and is recognised for its low drag electronics pods for military fast jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters.
The Airspeed launch tube was made using toughened, pre-impregnated carbon fibre, with the MMP prototype tube manufactured using four axis filament winding – an advanced winding technique offering repeatability and high part quality.
Layers of carbon fibre were wound, in helical and hoop windings, to create a robust structure with aesthetic appearance.
According to MBDA Australia managing director Andy Watson, the manufacturing partnership with Airspeed reflects the business’ ambition to create the best solution for LAND 400 while supporting local industry.
“If successful with LAND 400, MBDA’s vision is for MMP to become the first missile that is built, maintained and evolved in Australia,” he said.
“This creates opportunities for key components, like the missile tube, to be produced by Australian companies.
“MBDA hopes to include these companies in their global supply chain for MMP and, in the future, for other MBDA systems.”