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The DGA, France’s defence procurement authority, has selected the RAPIDFire weapon system, offered by a temporary consortium of Nexter and Thales, as the preferred close-in defence system for future French Navy vessels, the companies announced on 27 October.

Naval forces are exposed to multiple threats that exhibit complex behaviours, such as UAS, USV, light aircraft and missiles. RAPIDFire leverages the combined expertise of the two companies to meet these very short-range defence requirements, featuring a latest-generation multi-threat (air and surface), multi-environment (land and naval) gun system, with a cost of engagement commensurate with the value of the threats.

RAPIDFire is a gun system that offers high precision, thanks to its integrated optronic fire control system, its advanced algorithms, powerful gun and automatic ammunition management system, allowing optimum operator reactivity and efficiency. RAPIDFire incorporates the CTAI 40mm cannon, already selected for armoured vehicles in France, Belgium and the UK. The system is compatible with the full range of ammunition developed for ground vehicles, and will be able to use such future ammunition as the smart Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) round.

Nexter and Thales formed a temporary consortium for RAPIDFire as part of a work programme and roadmap put in place 10 years ago. The programme is currently in the development phase; on completion, production is scheduled to make the first delivery in 2022. Developed to allow use at sea as well as from land, RAPIDFire is a true joint solution for naval, land and air forces.

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,” commented Thomas Got, Thales’ VP Integrated Airspace-protection Systems.

The 40 CTAIhas 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,” added Michel Vatrey, Systems and Programmes Director at Nexter.

The RAPIDFire 40mm weapon system in a naval mounting. (Photo: Nexter)

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