European missile house MBDA has resurrected its Fire Shadow weapon system to potentially address the requirements of a Polish request for information (RfI) relating to the acquisition of a loitering munition (LM) capability.
The Fire Shadow indirect fire precision attack weapon was originally developed for the British Army under a development contract placed on MBDA in early 2009. Initial test firings of the system (flight, navigation, and control systems) were conducted at the Vidsel Test Range in Sweden in November 2010; this was followed by a second series of tests in May 2011. Operator training began in the same year, with initial deliveries of production systems to the army commencing in March 2012.
The system was thereafter intended to equip the Army’s 39th Regiment Royal Artillery for operations in Afghanistan; however, with the drawdown of UK forces from Operation 'Herrick' subsequently announced in December 2012, this never materialised.
In 2013, the National Audit Office (NAO) reported in its 2013 Major Projects Report that after spending GBP207 million (USD275 million), the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) had yet to decide on a future for the project (although Fire Shadow was listed in the NAO's 2014 Major Projects Report as among the 11 largest equipment projects in which the MoD had taken a main gate decision to invest). The cost of Phase 1 of the programme, including concept, assessment, demonstration, and initial manufacture, was forecast at around GBP200 million in 2011.
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