MBDA received the MdCN development and production contract for the weapon from French armaments agency DGA in 2006. Aerodynamic trials, general missile architecture, launch platform interfaces and mission planning were completed in 2008. The first A70 test firing was successfully carried out in May 2010 and the first submarine launch in June 2011.
The Italian navy looked at MdCN and Tomahawk Block IV for its Fremm ships, then decided to look at evolving MBDA's Italian-developed Teseo missile for anti-ship missions and “light strike” coastal and land-attack use. The goal is to keep the Teseo in service until 2040.
MBDA has carried out a modernization program to produce the Teseo Mk2A, which completed its qualification trials at the end of 2007. The Mk2A (known as Otomat Block IV for export) core consists of the digitization of the weapon and of its planning station.
With an advanced navigation system, including a secure GPS receiver and replacement of obsolete analog subsystems, the Mk2A is more survivable and lethal in its main anti-ship role, having acquired, for instance, the ability to conduct salvo attacks with missiles flying different profiles. It is also capable of engaging targets in the difficult coastal environment, adding a land navigation capability.
MBDA has carried out preliminary studies and is in contract with engine manufacturers for a more efficient and compact engine. Coupled with bigger fuel tanks (also a benefit of digitization because the new avionics are smaller and lighter), this could almost double the 100-nm range of today's missile, allowing engagement of targets well inside the coastline. The semi-armor-piercing blast warhead would enable it to attack a range of targets.
Another upgrade will involve replacement of the GPS with a more advanced GPS III unit, while the seeker could be replaced by a fully coherent active radar offering advanced modes, included synthetic aperture radar, to allow selection of impact point and target recognition. MBDA is considering the use of a semi-active laser seeker for high-precision land attacks, and a two-way data link would be incorporated. Aerodynamic modifications will exploit increased engine thrust. What will be retained will be extreme maneuverability and very-low-altitude, sea-skimming attack profile.
The company plans to leverage other missile programs, including an improved version of the Aspide surface-to-air missile and the Marte ER with technology cross-fertilization.
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