France to arm ships with new CT40 based weapon

Harry Lye 28 October 2020 (Last Updated October 28th, 2020 12:14)

The French Navy is to start equipping ships with a new CT40 cannon-based weapon built by a partnership between Nexter and Thales.

France to arm ships with new CT40 based weapon
The RAPIDFire system. Image: Nexter/ Thales.

The RAPIDFire system uses the same CTA International 40mm cannon found on the country’s Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle, and the UK’s AJAX and Warrior CSP armoured vehicles.

With deliveries starting in 2022, the RAPIDFire system will provide future French ships with a close-in-defence capability against aerial and surface threats.

Nexter systems and programmes director Michel Vatrey said: “The 40 CTA has unrivalled power and compactness, making it a gun system that is particularly suitable for protecting surface vessels.

“With RAPIDFire, Nexter is delighted to extend the CTA40’s range of use in cooperation with Thales and the French Navy.”

The RAPIDFire weapon uses the same ammunition as the land-based turret fitted on the Jaguar vehicle, as well as the CTA International Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) round. The A3B round is particularly effective against uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and low-speed aircraft.

Image: Thales.

Thales integrated airspace-protection systems vice-president Thomas Got said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the French Navy as it enhances the self-defence capabilities of its warships.

“With its combination of fast-into-action time and firing accuracy, RAPIDFire, developed in cooperation with Nexter, provides the best response for protecting Navy vessels against modern threats. It has the potential to become a key component of our offering of advanced force protection solutions.”

Although developed for the maritime domain, the French could, in future install the system on land carriers creating a further commonality between platforms and domains.

Work on RAPIDFire began around a decade ago with the formation of the Nexter-Thales consortium.

The turret system uses an optronic fire control system and an automatic ammunition management system.

CTA International, which builds the base cannon, is a consortium of Nexter Systems and the UK’s BAE Systems.