Since the decommissioning of the Teruel artillery missile system in the Spanish army in 2011, a missile system of this type has been missing to complement the towed and self-propelled howitzers. While the SILAM (High Mobility Launcher System) program proposed the adoption of Lockheed Martin’s HIMARS launcher, customized to meet national requirements, it was not formalized to cover the shortcomings of the army that NATO was restoring years ago Because of this substantial capacity, the Spanish company Expal Systems has proposed several Spanish companies to offer an artillery missile system that could be operational in a relatively short period of time. To this end, an alliance with a foreign technologist is sought, which shortens the deadlines compared to the initiatives currently running in the European Union.
An inalienable ability for modern armies
Despite their long range and destructive capacity, great inaccuracy has been attributed to this type of ammunition. However, current technologies make it possible to offer guidance systems that make them valuable assets for land forces and different ranges and warheads combine high-performance and precise guidance kits for the terminal phase.
One of the main goals of the Spanish Army’s Force 2035 program is the ability to create fire with power, precision, depth, mobility and intensity. The above-mentioned loss of Teruels in 2011 implies that this important operational capacity is being lost and that the national industrial base is unable to offer it when needed. In addition, because of their flexibility, modern missile systems are a valuable tool for current and future operating environments.
The proposal, led by Expal Systems, enables the Army to have a capacity and system that adapts to General Personnel Requirements (REM) in terms of time, duration and budget and draws on the national industrial base. In particular, the proposed system can support fires over 30 to 40 km. and up to 150 km. Be interoperable with our own command and control systems and those of our allies with high firepower and precision, be compatible with our allies’ ammunition, and be integrated with other systems in use in the Army, such as the vehicles currently in use; Forward watchers, tactical radios, etc.
The terms proposed by the Defense and Expal ministries stipulate that the system could be available in a short time horizon, around three years after it was discontinued (for example, if it is discontinued in 2022, it could be deployed between 2024 and 2025). The tight deadlines and budgets as well as the need to minimize risks speak in favor of the participation of an international technology partner who has started discussions with several, but with a high level of participation, from national industry.
In this sense, the current range of these systems includes missiles with a range of up to 150 or up to 300 km missiles. Scope with terminal management that is available in a short time and on which a technology transfer program can be carried out, on which national companies can provide new functions in the medium and long term.
Recall that the army is kept informed of the latest developments in this sector. This is an example of the fact that in 2018 the army took part in a demonstration of the Astros 2020 missile system made by the Brazilian manufacturer Avibras, an interest that we were able to confirm a year later on the occasion of the LAAD defense fair, which was held in Rio de Janeiro, and then analyzed the offering based on this versatile artillery missile system. Other very interesting systems that are being investigated are GMLRS from Lockeed Martin or PLUS from ELBIT Systems.
National industrial program
Recently the CEO of Expal Systems, Jos Manuel Fernández Bosch, confirmed the company’s proposal to offer a multiple launch system for artillery missiles (MLRS for the acronym in English).
As we expected, Expal Systems would run a national industrial group capable of running a technology transfer and efficient national manufacturing program. There are Spanish companies with capacities in ammunition, propulsion, warheads, detonators, integration with command and control systems and in vehicles, in the design and production of control systems, and in the precision machining capacity.
The degree of maturity of the products available to the technologists, as well as the capacity of the national industrial base, allow them to be deployed on the above date if the contract is signed in 2022 or 2023, provided the system is put into operation between 20 and 24 months after the contract is signed.
Among the Spanish companies Expal Systems has for this program is Instalaza, an expert in warheads, detonators and propulsion systems, Tecnobit, with experience in the spike missile and simulators, Iveco for integration in platforms serving the Army of Tierra , Escribano Mechanical & Engineering and everis ADS have developed precise artillery missile control systems as well as SasCorp that bring in the missile’s simulation capability and the impact on the targets or GMV into which the missile system could be integrated into the Talos command system.
Expal will be responsible for the development of the missiles and their integration into the platform, and will provide support in system technology. This is another step in the company’s strategy as the company advanced over the past year and includes the development of new weapon systems. Likewise. (Jos M Navarro Garca)
Photo: Astros-Schützen-System (Avibras)
Copyright © Grupo Edefa SA Reproduction, in whole or in part, of this article is prohibited without the prior authorization of the publisher.