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Eurosatory 2024: MBDA unveils Ground Warden AI aid for Akeron weapon system

MBDA's Ground Warden compute module displayed at Eurosatory 2024. (Janes/Amael Kotlarski)

MBDA France unveiled its Ground Warden decision aid system at the Eurosatory 2024 defence exhibition held in Paris from 17 to 21 June.

Ground Warden is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered piece of equipment designed to enhance and accelerate the observation, detection, acquisition, and engagement processes of the Akeron family of anti-vehicle weapon systems.

In development for less than a year, MBDA has been running the programme on its own initiative and in parallel to the European Union's (EU's) beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) programme, a company spokesperson told Janes . It comes as defence companies grapple with developing AI. This system integrates AI into the weapon rather than having it run separately, the spokesperson added.

Ground Warden was officially demonstrated to the French Army, the largest user of the Akeron MP (Akeron Moyenne Portée) anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), during Eurosatory 2024. MBDA said Ground Warden is ready-to-use with the Akeron MP ATGM, as well as upcoming Akeron loitering muntions and various third-party unmanned aircraft systems (UASs).

It consists of a ‘compute module', which houses a software-defined radio mounted directly onto the Akeron launcher and software that combines AI-based image processing algorithms. The system can link the launcher, offboard sensors (like a small UAS), and the team leader's mission command tablet. It processes imagery from all elements of the system and then disperses critical information to the right subsystem. Ground Warden is capable of conducting real-time matching between video feeds from offboard sensors and the seeker missile itself and providing the weapons team leader with target engagement success rates based on topography, distance, time of flight, and optimal engagement windows against fixed and moving targets.

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