On 19 June at Paris Air Show 2017. MBDA presented the new SmartGlider family of guided weapons, optimised to counter anti-access strategies and other emerging battlespace threats. Planned to become available for fast jets no later than 2025, SmartGlider forms a family of all-up-round glider weapons, with folding wings and a range of over 100 kilometres. This new generation of air-to-ground weapons is designed to counter new networked short- and medium-range surface-to-air threats, as well as moving/relocatable targets or hardened fixed targets.
The compact family member, SmartGlider Light, is 2m long and weighs 120 kilogrammes. 12-18 SmartGlider Lights can be carried on an aircraft thanks to a Hexabomb Smart Launcher (HSL) capable of managing reactive strikes without affecting the pilot's workload. As such, the SmartGlider Light will allow first-day-entry by saturating and destroying enemy air defences.
MBDA also prepares a 1,300kg SmartGlider Heavy able to carry a multipurpose warhead of more than 1,000kg to deal with large and hardened infrastructure.
"Throughout 30 years of work on the SCALP/STORM SHADOW and now on future deep strike, MBDA has gained an in-depth understanding of penetrative missions in hostile territory,“ Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA, explained. "We have therefore been able to optimise the costs of the aircraft and missile combination and succeeded in designing a truly efficient weapon for use in high volumes that perfectly complements the SCALP/STORM SHADOW and its future follow-on FC/ASW that we are developing through Anglo-French cooperation."