IDEX 2019

Modular ship self-protection [IDEX19D3]

19 February 2019

MBDA (Stand 07-A07) has unveiled details of a new containerised ship self-protection system designed to provide otherwise unarmed ships with a short-range defence capability in high threat zones.

Known as SPIMM (Self- Protection Integrated Mistral Module), the system leverages MBDA’s Mistral missile and SIMBAD-RC remote control turret to protect against airborne threats – including anti-ship missiles, aircraft, UAVs and helicopters – and seaborne fast inshore attack craft. The latter capability was demonstrated for the first time in a trial conducted in December 2018.

According to Christophe Leduc, MBDA’s product executive for naval defence systems, the development of the SPIMM concept reflects navies’ emerging need for a system that can be temporarily installed on support ships, logistics vessels and chartered commercial vessels as they transit littoral waters or chokepoints where there is a heightened threat of attack.

“Such ships may not have an escort 24/7,” said Leduc. “SPIMM enables the urgent and rapid adaptation of these ships to cope with new threats, or for using them in contested areas.”

The SPIMM module is based on a standard ISO 10ft container, on which is mounted a SIMBADRC turret equipped with two ready-to-fire Mistral missiles, and a 360° infrared panoramic system to detect and track air and surface threats. The system is controlled by two operators located in a shelter inside the module; locker space is also provided in the module for the ready storage of up to four additional Mistral missiles. Weighing about 7 tonnes, the SPIMM module occupies a relatively small upper deck footprint and can easily be craned on board. Four twist-lock connectors are used to secure the container on deck: the only ship interface is a standard electrical connection to the ship’s power supply.

For larger ships, two SPIMM modules can be fitted to provide full 360° protection. In this case, said Leduc, the modules are interconnected and configured in a ‘master and slave’ arrangement: the two operators remain in the ‘master unit’, while the ‘slave’ is operated remotely.

The first deliveries of SPIMM could be made within two years of contract. “The technology is all proven and in place,” said Leduc.

“What we are waiting for now is a first contract, which would fund final development [to] complete the packaging and qualification of the whole system.”

(378 words)