Thales, with support from the Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) – the French government defence procurement and technology agency – is progressing the development of a new 120 mm laser-guided, unpowered, air-to-surface munition evolved from the legacy Thomson Brandt Armements 120 mm Bombe d'Appui Tactique (BAT-120) tactical support bomb.
Weighing 35 kg, with a 10 kg high-explosive warhead, BAT-120LG retains the airframe of the legacy BAT-120, but introduces the laser-guidance sub-assembly of the Thales Aculeus LG 68 mm laser-guided induction rocket, which is currently being qualified with the French Ministry of Defence (MoD), and its evolution for the laser guidance solution of the developmental Thales 120 mm guided mortar round (Munition Guidée de Mortier – MGM), currently under technical evaluation by the MoD, to create a 120 mm laser-guidance front-end assembly.
The semi-active laser seeker, inertial measurement unit, battery, electronic controller unit, and a modified software package are all derived from the Aculeus LG, while the control actuator system is adapted from the MGM round. Both the forward canard array and the aft swept-back fold-out cruciform fin assembly have been re-designed for improved aerodynamics.
Matthieu Krouri, Senior Manager for Airborne Weapon Systems at Thales told Jane’s that the idea is to leverage the existing ‘Systeme d’Emport Multi Bombe’ – a unique multiple munition carriage system developed by Thomson Brandt Armements for the earlier ‘Bombe Anti Piste’ 100 (BAP 100) and later BAT-120 munitions, which allows the carriage of nine munitions on a single aircraft station – by designing an advanced munition with the same fit, form and safe separation function of the BAT-120. A digital interface to the stores is contained within the carriage system, which means that the host platform does not need to be modified for BAT-120LG integration. While the release sequence, range to target, and laser code data is uploaded before flight, this is not an induction-launch capability akin to the Telson launcher developed by Thales for its induction-launched family of air-to-surface rockets.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options: ihs.com/contact