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At its last meeting in 2019, the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has the 25-million euro-template approved, worth about 76 million euros on 18 December 2019 for the qualification and the production and delivery of 850 missiles Lightweight active agent 1800+. The ENFORCER MBDA has been selected by the German army in the course of a competition as a lightweight operating agent 1800+. On December 20, 2019 commissioned MBDA Germany by the Federal Office for equipment, information technology and use of the Armed Forces of the delivery of Enforcer missile systems. (Update 2 January 2020)

Requirements Leichtes Wirkmittel 1800+

Since Special Forces in particular see a need for a further precision effector beyond the range of the Wirkmittel 90, the Bundeswehr launched the "Leichtes Wirkmittel 1800+" initiative. The requirements were based on the KSK's experience in Afghanistan. There, the soldiers had no suitable weapon against the asymmetric forces and their weapons with effective ranges of up to 2,000 m (sMGs (.50) from positions or on pick-ups). Close Air Support or indirect fire was not always available. This project is intended to provide the German Special Forces with fire superiority in all types of armed conflicts and peacekeeping measures in symmetrical and asymmetrical scenarios and to be deployed worldwide. A total requirement of up to 3,100 guided missiles "Leichtes Wirkmittel 1800+" is expected, which could be covered in several procurement lots.

According to an earlier statement by the German Federal Office for Procurement, the Leichtes Wirkmittel 1800+ will enable the Special Forces deployed to carry out their mission reliably, efficiently and effectively in an effective range of up to 1,800 metres under all operating conditions during day and night, as well as to carry out specialised tasks derived from these missions with a high probability of first hits. The target spectrum includes stationary as well as moving targets, soft targets in and targets behind covers as well as in infrastructures against which the required effect must be achieved quickly and precisely. The HENSOLDT Dynahawk fire control sight, which has proven its worth with the Wirkmittel 90, is to be used as the target optics.

Even though the Light Effector 1800+ is currently only of relevance to the Bundeswehr's Special Forces, it can be assumed that the weapon could be deployed in other Bundeswehr units following the procurement of Special Forces. A similar strategy has already been successfully implemented for all parties involved in the Wirkmittel 90 project.

MBDA ENFORCER

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The ENFORCER has a multi-effect warhead with multimode fuse (Photo: MBDA)

The complete system, missile with fire control unit weighs approx. 12 kg and is therefore comparatively light. It was designed by MBDA to deliver a fast and precise effect to dismounted forces even against moving targets at a distance of up to 2,000 meters. According to the company, MBDA has already successfully tested the guided missile several times during development activities.

During firing tests, the multinational ENFORCER team was able to achieve several very precise hits with guided shots at 1,000 to 2,000 metres. These tests confirmed, among other things, the expectations expected of the seeker head, which guided the missile into the centre of the target. One of the hits involved the use of a new, lightweight carbon launch tube developed by MBDA Italy.

Data on target accuracy is not disclosed by MBDA, but demo videos show a highly accurate, direct and central hit on a 2×2 m target at 1500 m - even with moving targets. MBDA indicates the capabilities of the ENFORCER as follows:

  • Range 2000 m +
  • Fire-and-forget missile system
  • Capability against lightly armoured and soft skinned targets
  • Lock-on-before-launch (LOBL)
  • High precision over full range
  • Multi-effects warhead
  • Effect against targets behind cover through airburst capability
  • Enclosed space firing capability
  • Capability against lightly armoured and soft skinned targets

Growth potential of the ENFORCER

MBDA has designed the ENFORCER to be able to grow up right from the start in order to meet customer-specific requirements with regard to the warhead and the continuous race between effect and protection. The development of an air-to-ground version is being investigated.

A semi-active laser seeker (SAL) was developed for this purpose and has already been successfully fired. MBDA intends to make the ENFORCER available for use in tactical unmanned aerial vehicles and light support helicopters in the future. For this purpose, the missile, based on the infantry variant, will be slightly adapted, which can be realized with little effort due to the modularity of the design. In contrast to laser-guided 70 mm rockets, the ENFORCER would have the advantage of a significantly higher range and the ability to engage targets accurately even at high angles beyond the aircraft's flight axis (e.g. three o'clock in flight direction). For this purpose, the missile receives advance information on the target position in relation to its own position and flight direction. The modern guidance and navigation unit aligns the missile to the target after firing. The final guidance is provided by the SAL seeker head in conjunction with the laser illumination of the target by the aircraft or ground forces.

Waldemar Geiger