UK, Poland To Advance Development Of Longer Range Air Defense Missile

MBDA CAMM on Polish frigate prototype
Credit: MBDA

LONDON—Poland and the UK are advancing a joint effort to develop a longer-range version of MBDA’s Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM).

The CAMM-MR (medium-range), also known as the Future Common Missile, is a larger version of the CAMM-ER with a range of up to 80 km (50 mi.). It is being proposed as a low-cost alternative to the RTX Patriot’s PAC-3 MSE missile being purchased for the country’s Wisla medium-range air defense requirement, as well as to provide a medium-range missile for Poland’s under-construction Miecznik frigates.

The initiative to develop a joint missile was borne out of a joint agreement signed between the two countries last October and is a component of a UK-Poland 2030 strategic partnership formed in July. A letter of intent signed Sept. 6 between MBDA and the Polish Armaments Group PGZ at the MSPO International Defense Industry Exhibition in Kielce, Poland, advanced the initiative. 

MBDA has been contracted by the Polish Defense Ministry to study the Polish requirement and propose several concepts that could be implemented to satisfy it. One of the designs on display at the MSPO shows a single-stage weapon with a broader and longer body than the CAMM-ER, to accommodate a larger rocket motor. One of the criteria is the ability to fit two of the missiles into a Mk.41 Vertical Launching System that will equip the Miecznik-class frigates.

Poland will be a substantial customer for the CAMM family of missiles. The basic short-range CAMM will be the primary weapon of the Pilica+ point air defense system, while the 40-km (25-mi.) range CAMM-ER is under contract to be the primary weapon for the Narew system. Warsaw is planning to purchase some 1,000 missiles, the majority of which will be manufactured in Poland.

The deal to acquire the missiles also includes a significant technology transfer package to enable Polish industry to build the components and assemble the missiles.

That CAMM-ER order is one of the largest export deals in MBDA’s history.

The hope is that if fully developed, the CAMM-MR will share significant commonality with the other members of the CAMM family, allowing Polish industry to produce the weapon in-country.

“Joint work on a new missile is a historic step for our companies and countries. MBDA was established to support the cross-border development of missile systems in Europe, so we are very proud to be working with PGZ and Poland on the new project,” says Chris Allam, managing director of MBDA UK.

“This is a new chapter for PGZ, and we are very motivated to engage especially in design and development with assets that we have at hand or being implemented right now, as a solid and strategic partner of MBDA,” explains Sebastian Chwałek, president of the PGZ management board.

The UK level of interest in such a missile remains unclear. The UK is considering acquisition of a medium-range capability but with the CAMM-ER, having underinvested in a ground-based air defense capability for decades.

Tony Osborne

Based in London, Tony covers European defense programs. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2012, Tony was at Shephard Media Group where he was deputy editor for Rotorhub and Defence Helicopter magazines.