MBDA's remotely controlled SIMBAD-RC ship self-defence system has now entered the qualification phase, following the completion of prototype testing.
The milestone sets the stage for the delivery of series production units in 2015.
Based on the company's manually controlled twin-launcher system, which is currently operational with the French Navy and others, the SIMBAD-RC aims to provide automated, close-in defence against air and surface threats, to a 6.5km range.
MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier said: "The SIMBAD-RC programme is a perfect example of MBDA's strategy, [which is] aimed at developing land and naval systems at the cutting edge of technology, [with] systems that correspond perfectly to the operational requirements of our customers, while at the same time maximising the efficiency of our missiles.
"The commercial success of this nascent programme serves as a welcome confirmation of this strategy."
The new launch system is intended to be the key air defence system of fast patrol boats and auxiliary ships, or a complementary air defence system for corvettes and frigates.
The basic SIMBAD-RC system, which is configured with two 'lock-on before launch' Mistral infrared-homing missiles, comprises one or two gyro-stabilised turrets, featuring a Sagem MATIS SP mid-waveband thermal camera and an optional large field-of-view day camera.
Positioned on a stabilised launcher, the self-defence system can be remotely controlled from an operations room, which allows a single operator to manage two SIMBAD-RC launcher systems.
Image: MBDA's remotely controlled SIMBAD-RC ship self-defence system. Photo: courtesy of the MBDA.