Take-off for the MBDA and Novadem Colibri project
Following the May 2022 call for tenders for the Colibri and Larinae projects by the French “Innovation Defense Lab” (AID) and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), on 23 March 2023 AID announced that two consortia have been selected. One of the successful candidates is the MBDA/NOVADEM consortium that has developed a user-oriented, minimum viable product approach for the Colibri project using the Sphynx concept.
NOVADEM and MBDA have been cooperating for many years on the use of the AKERON MP weapon system, for which NOVADEM supplies the NX70 drone, and on the EDIDP BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight) project.
Architecturally, the Sphynx concept is designed as a weapon system with integrated rotary-wing drone technologies, rather than as simply a drone plus a warhead.
The decision to choose rotary wing architecture is based on the feedback MBDA has received from its considerable work in this field.
The solution, with its permanent man-in-the-loop, is particularly useful in terms of manoeuvrability and infantry use in urban, extra-urban and forest environments.
The consortium relies on Ministerial Instruction 1618, which allows it to decide, together with general staffs and the DGA, which requirement/solution compromise will best deliver a rapid, effective response to armed forces’ requirements.
The aim is to improve performance when under cost/size constraints while at the same time ensuring mission reliability and the safety levels essential for use by a world-class army in high-intensity conflicts.
AID’s selection from among 19 candidates of MBDA and Novadem and their Sphynx concept supports MBDA’s decision to adopt an agile approach that meets the need for a fast, innovative sovereign solution for the forces.
This remotely-operated missile with its beyond-line-of-sight strike capabilities is a natural fit for the MBDA portfolio of battlefield effectors, which include the AKERON MP and LP.
The first demonstrations, planned for the end of 2023, will increase understanding of the technical and operational capabilities of these types of solution and of their safety in use.