A consortium of British weapons suppliers, small- and medium-sized enterprises and academia has unveiled a solution for the UK ground force’s requirement for a low-cost, all-weather, 24-hour capability to carry out precision attacks against difficult to engage surface targets.

Team LM, lead by MBDA, says its Fire Shadow Weapon System, a loitering munition, can be launched over a battle zone, loiter for around 10hrs and then rapidly strike a suitable target when it appears, while still conforming with the rules of engagement.

Fire Shadow has an operating rage of more than 150km with submetric precision.

It also features ‘man in the loop’, which ensures the weapon always remains under the control of an operator who can divert the weapon at the last moment, for example, if a non-combatant appears near the intended target.

Following launch over a battle zone, Fire Shadow can receive real-time target information from a range of sources in a potentially network or info-centric enabled environment from sources such as unmanned air vehicles.

Team LM comprises Blue Bear Systems Research, Cranfield Aerospace, Cranfield University, Lockheed Martin UK INSYS, Marshalls SV, Meggitt, QinetiQ, Roxel, Selex SAS, Thales UK, Ultra Electronics and VEGA.

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By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh