PARIS --- The Italian Parliament’s defense committee has approved funding for the procurement of MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile - Extended Range (CAMM-ER), clearing the way for the long-overdue replacement of the three services’ short-range air-defense systems.
The decision, which comes as the CAMM-ER completed a series of firings intended to demonstrate its capabilities, will give an added impetus to MBDA’s marketing campaign for the missile, notably in Poland where it is competing for the Narew short-range air-defense requirement.
The defense committee’s Nov. 14 decision approves funding of €95 million to complete development of the CAMM-ER, a joint program between MBDA Italy and MBDA UK, and its subsequent integration into the Italian services’ short- to medium-range air-defense systems.
The CAMM-ER development phase is scheduled to begin before the end of the year, and to be completed in 2023. The program was previously approved by Parliament’s budget committee on Oct. 23.
The Italian requirement is for a modern missile to initially replace Aspide, an Italian ground-launched missile derived from the AIM-7 Sparrow, in three medium-range air-defense systems fielded by the Italian armed forces: the Air Force’s Spada, the Army’s Skyguard and the Navy’ Albatros. Italy procured 31 Aspide batteries, and also fitted it to 32 surface combatants.
MBDA has successfully completed a series of trials of the CAMM-ER air defence missile, validating the high-performance of the system.
In addition to final development of the CAMM-ER missile round, the program also covers its integration into the Italian Air Force’s Medium Advanced Air Defence System (MAADS), and the Italian Army’s Network-Enabled Capabilities (NEC) cluster.
However, the Navy’s involvement in the program is dependent on the outcome of an ongoing feasibility study to confirm the missile’s compatibility with the Italian Navy’s new class of multirole warships, the Pattugliatori Polivalenti d'Altura (PPA).
As noted by the defense committee, the CAMM-ER is particularly interesting because its range is more than double the 12-15 km range of the Aspide. Moreover, it is designed to engage a much wider range of aerial threats, including fast jet aircraft, helicopters, missiles and drones.
CAMM and CAMM-ER form the basis for MBDA's Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS), which brings together ‘best-of-breed’ systems and technologies from across MBDA's European base to save time, development costs and provide a flexible system for air defence provision. CAMM-based air defence systems are known as Land Ceptor and Sea Ceptor by the British Army and Royal Navy.
Last week, Northrop Grumman announced that, together with MBDA and Saab, it had successfully demonstrated the integration of the CAMM family and Saab’s Giraffe radar into its Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS).
IBCS is intended to replace legacy ‘stove-piped’ systems with a net-centric approach, allowing the integration of disparate radars and weapons to build a more effective integrated air and missile defense.
CAMM was the first non-U.S. missile system to be demonstrated with IBCS earlier this year, and Giraffe represents the first non-U.S. sensor system to be demonstrated.
“This represents the latest successful demonstration of the flexibility of the CAMM family, which has been designed from the ground up to operate within a modern, network-centric open IAMD architecture. In this event we were able to demonstrate multiple simultaneous engagements of a full range of contemporary threats, using targeting information from networked surveillance sensors,” said Ben Newland, ground based air defense program head at MBDA.
Poland is to acquire the IBCS as part of its Patriot missile procurement (Wizla program), and is looking for a modern short-range system to complement it under the Narew program.
“MBDA and Northrop Grumman have [together] invested and completed prototype integration of MBDA’s CAMM missile with IBCS. Should Poland decide to acquire IBCS with CAMM for NAREW, the work performed by MBDA and Northrop Grumman substantially reduces technical integration and schedule risk, and therefore the cost to Poland for the acquisition of NAREW,” Tony Housh, Northrop Mission Systems Director for Poland, told Polish website Defence24.pl in an Aug. 23 interview.
Among the other competitors, Raytheon is offering a booster-less SkyCeptor interceptor, derived from the Israeli Stunner missile, for both the Narew short-range and Wisla medium-range air defense programs. The company announced Sept. 14 it would also offer SkyCeptor with a booster for the second phase of the Wisla program.
Other competitors also include Norway’s Kongsberg, which is offering its NASAMS, basically a ground-launched Amraam that it has already sold to Norway and Sweden, and an independent bid by Israeli industry focused on the Iron Dome.