France and Britain will create a supersonic missile with three warheads

France and Britain will create a supersonic missile with three warheads
France and Britain will create a supersonic missile with three warheads
23 February, 13:08ArmyPhoto: Фото Соцсети
The two countries signed an intergovernmental agreement on the joint development of a new multi-purpose missile CVS 401 «Perseus».

Alexander Sychev

This missile will replace a whole fleet of ammunition in service with the two countries — Storm Shadow missiles (in the French version — SCALP), as well as Exocet and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The new universal missile during the flight will track the terrain along a pre-selected «corridor», thus remaining out of the enemy’s radar coverage. The system of orientation in space and control is supposed to be built on the basis of the receiver of the American GPS satellite navigation system, to which, in the future, the European Galileo system may be added.

The approach to the target is standard for subsonic cruise missiles — the Perseus will actively maneuver almost at the ground. But on approaching the target, it will perform a «hill» maneuver, accelerate to maximum speed and dive at an object that will be determined by a homing system capable of recognizing targets. The angle of attack can be set depending on the characteristics of the object.

Another distinctive feature of the new missile will be that its warhead is a tridem, that is, it consists of three ammunition. The main one — with a capacity of 200 kilograms of explosives, two additional ones — 50 kilograms each.

This principle is inherited from the Storm Shadow missile, which has two ammunition. The first breaks through the obstacle and paves the way for the main charge. That works already inside the object with some delay in time. In the new missile, each of the three warheads has an individual guidance to the target, although the possibility of one of them taking on the role of a pathfinder is also not ruled out.

The developers want to increase the firing range of the CVS 401 Perseus to 300 kilometers. This desire is due to her multitasking. The missile will have to hit not only warships, but also strike ground targets deep behind enemy lines. That is why the five-meter ammunition will be endowed with the ability to navigate in space and track the topography of the earth’s surface. The rocket will be able to fly in a wide range of altitudes — from 10 meters to 15 kilometers at a speed of two to three Machs. Starting weight — 800 kilograms.

Perseus is supposed to be launched from submarines and aircraft, as well as land-based launchers, including from the American unified shipborne vertical launcher Mk 41 and a similar French Sylver launcher.

The project is funded by France and the UK in equal shares, but the design work will be led by the European military-industrial consortium Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia (MBDA). Production, of course, too.

The Perseus project was first announced at the arms show at Le Bourget back in 2011. But the incomprehensible situation that arose in connection with the scandalous exit of Great Britain from the European Union pushed the project into the background. The owners of the consortium were very upset. They were in a hurry to prepare the Perseus concept — ten MBDA engineers developed it in just six months. But the «divorce process» ruined everything. It was not clear that in general it would be possible to save in relations with London. As a result, a solid contract for the development and guaranteed subsequent supply of new universal weapons to the armed forces of the two countries at once hung up.

Today, the passions surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU have subsided and it has become clear that there will be no obstacles to cooperation in the military sphere. You can dust off old ideas, which Paris and London have done. Ten years later, they returned to their old project in the field of joint military development.

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