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SOFINS 2023: Nexter's Dard loitering munition breaks cover

Nexter Colibri loitering munition. (Janes/Amael Kotlarski)

Nexter revealed the design of its Dard (Stinger) loitering munition at the SOFINS 2023 defence exhibition, held near Bordeaux, France.

The Dard was selected as part of France's Colibri project, launched in May 2022 by the Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) and the Agence de l'innovation de défense (AID). The Colibri project seeks to rapidly develop an indigenous, low-cost loitering munition for use with the French Armed Forces. The Colibri requirements call for a loitering munition capable of neutralising personnel and soft-skinned vehicles at a range of up to 5 km. Nexter, alongside an unnamed French unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer, was selected earlier this month to fulfil the Colibri requirements. The first deliveries are expected to take place in 2024.

The Dard consists of a flying wing design capable of being fitted with an approximately 500 g, controlled fragmentation warhead, developed by Nexter Arrowtech. With a range of 5 km, the system is designed to be recovered should the use of its onboard warhead not be required. The Dard can also be configured to fly without the warhead, in which case it will be limited to conducting surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Nexter is also working on a solution to meet a parallel project requirement, named Larinae. This project calls for a loitering munition with a range of 50 km and capable of engaging armoured or hardened targets. Nexter's solution uses an inverted gull wing design, that can be equipped with an explosively formed penetrator-type warhead. The selection of Larinae is expected later in 2023.

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