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Paris Air Show 2023: MBDA announces new FCAS effector programme

Indicative models of the NGF with the Recoverable Remote Carrier and smaller Expendable Remote Carrier were displayed at the FCAS chalet at Le Bourget. (Janes/Nigel Torp-Petersen)

MBDA is developing a new effector for the Expendable Remote Carrier (ERC) requirement of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien du Futur (SCAF) programme, the company announced during a media briefing on 21 June at the Paris Air Show 2023.

The ERC will be stealthy, weigh approximately 400 kg, and have a “play time” of one hour. MBDA said the final size would be dictated by whether or not it needs to fit inside the weapons bay of the New Generation Fighter.

MBDA said it was designing the ERC to operate in collaborative groups which, on release, would work together to achieve the mission commander's desired effects on a given target. MBDA said the ERC would have a modular payload that would comprise of warheads and different sensors, and that can act in unison. The ERC will provide sufficient mass to neutralise future high-end integrated air-defence networks. MBDA said the ERC would feature a degree of autonomy allowing it to prioritise certain tasks.

The ERCs form an element of the wider FCAS/SCAF air combat system of systems, which includes the New Generation Fighter, a Recoverable Remote Carrier (RRC) loyal wingman, and an Air Combat Cloud that links the assets. The system is scheduled to enter service with the German, French, Spanish, and potentially Belgian air forces in the mid-2040s. Airbus Defence and Space GmbH is the lead contractor for the remote carriers, along with MBDA and SATNUS.

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