European missile house MBDA Systems (Stand 07-A07) has performed a successful demonstration of the Mistral missile and SIMBAD-RC remotely controlled naval turret to defend against fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) threats.
Effective out to a range of 6.5km, Mistral is a short-range air defence missile equipped with an advanced imaging infrared seeker, which achieves 'lock-on before launch'. The seeker's advanced image processing capabilities enable it to engage low thermal signature targets - such as unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship missiles and fast boats - while at the same time offering excellent resistance to countermeasures.
The anti-FIAC demonstration, undertaken in late 2018 in the presence of several overseas delegations, was performed from a shore-mounted SIMBAD-RC system. The engagement scenario - against a fast-moving, remotely controlled semi-rigid boat more than 3km offshore - was intended to be representative of the self-protection of a vessel against an asymmetric small boat threat.
SIMBAD-RC provides a lightweight, automated, close-in defence capability against air and surface threats. The system is easy to install, providing smaller ships and support vessels with a primary self-defence capacity, or offering an additional layer of protection for other types of surface vessels. The basic SIMBAD-RC installation comprises one or two lightweight stabilised turrets equipped with a Safran MATIS SP mid-waveband thermal camera and an optional large field-of-view day camera. The system also includes a dedicated compact terminal, SMU-RC, which can manage up to two turrets (interfacing with the ship's combat system or surveillance sensors).
In 2018, MBDA secured a contract to refit SIMBAD-RC to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces' (RSNF) four F 2000S Madinaclass frigates. Saudi Arabia has previously acquired SIMBAD-RC for the RSNF's two Boraida-class auxiliary replenishment ships Boraida and Yunbou; each vessel has received two launchers.