A momentum towards the development of future joint defence capabilities between nations has recently been gaining force in Europe. Significant policy developments have reinforced the will and means of the public sector to invest in defence technologies. Collaborative capability development reinforces the link between industry and research partners within Europe but also the involvement of military end-users early in the development process. This definitely contributes to creating new industrial synergies and ensuring better interoperability and commonality between militaries of different nations. Furthermore, the recent COVID-19 crisis and the present conflict in Ukraine have most certainly confirmed this trend to investment in a resilient Defence Industry and Technological Base (DTIB).
FN Herstal leveraged these opportunities to support the development of new weapon systems in the framework of projects of the European Defence Agency, NATO or the European Commission, initially through the EDIDP and now the European Defence Fund (EDF).
A particular success story for FN Herstal is the development of a European Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) combat missile capacity. Together with eleven other partners, led by MBDA France, FN Herstal recently conducted the final demonstration of the EDIDP LynkEUs project. The successful scenario demonstrated the capacity to fire a missile based on a third-party target acquisition system. This milestone contributes to the development of real collaborative engagement of weapon systems.
Based on this initial success, the follow-up project EDF MARSEUS will consolidate the technological bricks to raise the overall maturity of the system and finally develop an operational capability of BLOS missiles. FN Herstal will contribute to this second project as a weapon system integrator working on novel interfaces between man and machine as well as the integration of new weapons onto its deFNder® Remote Weapon Station (RWS) family. Indeed, the deFNder®, with its modular architecture, has already integrated several FN Herstal designed machine guns as well as a wide range of third-party sensors and weapon systems successfully. The MARSEUS project provides the opportunity for FN Herstal to integrate MBDA’s AKERON missile as a new weapon system into the weapon’s portfolio of the deFNder®. This integration will bring a new horizon (or even beyond) into the spectrum of applications of FN Herstal RWS in the near future.