What will the complex weapons of the future look like? It is a question MBDA tries to answer daily. “We need to anticipate what we will see tomorrow. We have to identify the technologies to invest in and understand the future expectations of our customers.” Éric Béranger, CEO.
Having a vision of what the future will be is a common objective within MBDA. Innovation is a major driver in making that vision a reality. It helps us identify emerging opportunities and capabilities that can enhance the future MBDA portfolio to meet future requirements.
That is why, every year, we celebrate our innovations and innovators and reward our most innovative teams. Our Innovation Awards winners are carefully selected by our top managers, using criteria such as originality, value, collaboration and perseverance.
At MBDA, we try to find the right balance between programmatic innovation – based on product and technology roadmaps – and open/entrepreneurial innovation – based on people’s creativity, emerging technologies in the civil world, and iterative experimentation. All while maintaining our agility to integrate emerging technologies and react to new threats when preparing future generations of products.
We believe in a collaborative approach. It brings out the best in each other, makes sharing best practices easier and facilitates solving problems together. This year, we identified 1,500 employees and 248 proposals, working across functional directorates and international boundaries and cooperating with their supply chain partners, academia and new and original start-ups.
The selection of innovations rewarded this year covered a number of business aims, including:
Increasing the performance of our products and master key technologies
We explore every avenue to increase the speed and ability to detect, navigate and survive in an increasingly contested environment, and to adapt as rapidly as possible to a fast-changing battlefield. Award winners in this area presented innovations in:
- New generation seekers, signal processing, navigation and target recognition
- Increased use of AI, modelling and simulation
- Improved mission preparation
Proposing new product concepts
The future battlefield will require new effectors and effect management. The innovative solutions for future product portfolio submitted for awards included:
- Collaborative weapons
- Open architecture solutions to combat drones
- New firing units based on standardized solutions to reduce costs, facilitate evolutions, and increase cybersecurity.
- Directed energy weapons
Making products safer and more secure
MBDA products need to be safe and secure to be operated with the highest confidence by our customers. The ever-increasing complexity of the weapons systems, that need to be connected to deliver their full capacity, in a world where cyber-attacks are major threats, requires more and more effort and sophisticated protective solutions. Some of the innovations rewarded covered:
Working more efficiently and reducing costs
The competitive environment in which MBDA operates imposes strong pressure on the time to market and cost of MBDA products. Some of the innovative approaches to solutions for this that have been awarded include:
- Standardization and reuse of solutions between products
- Identification of commercial off the shelf products
- New lean and agile development methods
- New manufacturing methods based on simulated process, Additive Layer Manufacturing, robotization
- The digitalization of processes, from e-Learning to digital invoice management and customer support
Increasing close relationships with our customers, partners, suppliers
Developing new ways of interacting with our customers and partners, and supporting their needs and expectations helps provide more affordable and reliable life solutions and services. Areas where we have seen and rewarded innovation are:
- Industrial cooperation
- Health & Usage Monitoring System and new services
Discover more on MBDA’s Innovation Awards Programme : video