US Pushing Hard To Sell Javelins to France
The US joint venture that builds the Javelin anti-tank missile came through town recently to introduce a new senior executive, underscoring American industry’s hot pursuit of a contract for a medium-range weapon for the French Army, sources briefed on the issue said.
The Javelin joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon presented its new business development manager for France, Ken Alexander, the week of April 15 to officials of the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office and Army headquarters, two sources said.
The company executives gave an update on the Javelin modernization program in a bid to replace the French Army’s aging MBDA Milan missiles. The visit follows a presentation by the joint venture in June.
That puts Javelin in head-to-head combat with European missile maker MBDA, which hopes to develop and build a new weapon under the planned missile moyenne portée (MMP), medium-range missile program.
“MBDA is still the front-runner,” one source said.
But the Javelin joint venture is still pursuing a French order. Up to now, the requirement has been for 3,000 replacement missiles.
The US side raises questions as to whether there will be money to develop a new weapon and whether MBDA will be able to deliver by mid-2017, when the Milan is taken out of service, the source said.
MBDA confirmed that work started on MMP in 2010, with some funding from the DGA in late 2011 for the assessment phase, a company spokesman said.
“Work is on track for delivery to start in 2017 to avoid any capability gap when the Milan is withdrawn from the French Army,” the spokesman said.
Although a program decision has not been taken due to financial uncertainty, planners see MBDA’s role as a given in the upcoming military budget law, a defense specialist said. That’s partly because MBDA acts as a channel for …read more