In 1979, Aerospatiale, British Aerospace and the then MBB (now DaimlerChrysler Aerospace) formed the GIE Euromissile Dynamics Group (EMDG Consortium) to develop a number of missile families of varying types.
In 1988, the French, UK and German governments authorised development of a third generation of European long- and medium-range anti-tank missiles to replace the current MILAN, HOT and Swingfire systems. These weapons are the TRIGAT Medium- and Long-Range Anti-tank Systems, designs selected from studies carried out in 1986. Belgium and the Netherlands are involved in the medium-range project.
The information provided below, under the respective headings of TRIGAT-MR and TRIGAT-LR, is the official EMDG position as of mid-1999.
By mid-1999, France, Germany and the UK had all signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the industrialisation phase of the TRIGAT-MR; Belgium and the Netherlands still need to sign the document.
The resignation of the Belgium Government delayed their signature, while the Netherlands may still procure the US Javelin or Israeli Gill/Spike. It is almost certain that Belgium will sign the MoU, but if the Netherlands does not sign there will have to be some adjustment of production work share.
EMDG still expect the TRIGAT-MR production contract to be awarded by the end of 1999 and management of the system will then be transferred to the joint European agency OCCAR (Organisation de Co-operation Conjoint en Matiere d'Armement).
According to Aerospatiale Missiles, the TRIGAT-MR industrialisation and production contract is expected to be worth more than FFr 8 billion and will cover the supply of 1,600 firing units, 1,200 thermal sights and more than 35,000 missiles.
TRIGAT-MR missile assembly will take place at the Aerospatiale Missiles facility at Bourge where production of the Eyrx is already undertaken. It is expected that first production TRIGAT-MR missiles will be delivered in 2002.
Other companies across Europe will feed subassemblies to Bourge. Matra BAe UK, for example will supply almost half of the actual missiles, while SAGEM of France will supply the thermal imager and LFK of Germany the firing post.
Germany and the UK will be the first TRIGAT-MR operational users. The UK will be the largest user of TRIGAT-MR and will betaking about 45 per-cent of total production.
While France, Germany and the UK are still funding TRIGAT-LR, the UK has already decided that it will not purchase production missiles as it has selected the WAH-64D armed with the Hellfire ATGM.
Early in 1998, France decided to withdraw from the production phase of TRIGAT-LR and Germany will now have to decide how to fund the future production phase of this missile. The development phase of TRIGAT-LR is due to be completed in the year 2001.
In March 1998, EMDG carried out the first launch of a TRIGAT-LR ATGM at a test range in southern France. The missile was launched from a Eurocopter Panther helicopter which is being used in the development programme. The missile hit a special thermal NATO size tank target at a range of 2,630 m. Since then, further successful development firings of TRIGAT-LR have taken place.
The first TRIGAT-LR production application will be for the Eurocopter Tiger/Tigre attack helicopter being developed to meet the requirements of the French and German armies.
It is expected that the production contract for TRIGAT-LR will be awarded some time in 1999 to support delivery of the first production helicopters to the German Army.
Germany will be the first operational user of Tiger, followed by France later. Three versions are being developed: Tiger HAP and HAC for the French Army; and the UHT for the German Army.
The latter would be armed with TRIGAT-LR ATGM and Stinger missiles for use in the air-to-air role. Tiger has a built-in capability to launch the more effective and longer range TRIGAT-LR or the existing in service HOT ATGM.
TRIGAT Medium-Range (TRIGAT-MR) missile
The 1 m long TRIGAT-MR started 12 months of technology proving and troop trials in early 1997. An outline of the current TRIGAT-MR programme is as follows: third quarter of 1996, delivery of first hardware for start of technical and military evaluation; first quarter of 1997, start of technical and military evaluation; 1998, hot and cold weather firing trials; 1999-2000, volume production followed by production ramp-up.
The weapon uses thrust vector control and low ejection velocity technology developed by Aerospatiale for its Eryx infantry anti-tank missile. Flight time is 12 seconds to the range of 2,000 m whilst minimum range is 200 m. Full effectiveness is achieved between 200 and 2,400 m.
A tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead system with an Infra-Red (IR) standoff fuze is fitted to enable the weapon to defeat all types of current and future armour technology. The missile itself is carried in a sealed canister which acts as the container-launcher tube, the total weight of which is 17 kg. The man-portable tripod firing post and sight assembly weighs another 17 kg.
Guidance is by Optical Beam-Riding (OBR) of a coded IR laser beam generated in the 10 urn wavelength region. All the gunner has to do is to keep the cross- hairs of his sight on the target. The missile automatically locks onto the centre beam after launch and receives its flight commands via the laser receiver unit mounted at its rear. An optical day sight is supplemented by an optional clip-on thermal imaging night sight to give the system an all-weather day or night engagement capability in fog, haze or battlefield smoke conditions.
Maximum rate of fire is 3 rds/min in the man-portable role. Significantly, MR has the capability of being fired from enclosed spaces. The weapon also has the capability of engaging low-flying or hovering helicopters.
For use on armoured vehicles an adapted pintle-type mounting has been developed. A more sophisticated integrated compact turret installation has also been studied. In each case the basic launcher tube, sight and guidance equipment used is the same.
The TRIGAT-MR is known as the PARS-3MR (or Merlin) in Germany, the TRIGAT-MR in the UK and the AC3G-MP in France.
TRIGAT Long-Range (TRIGAT-LR) missile
The larger 1.57 m long, 0.155 m body diameter TRIGAT-LR is of the all-weather day and night fire-and-forget type for launch from either helicopter or vehicle mounts.
An outline of the current TRIGAT-LR programme is as follows: 1997-99, Tiger helicopter trials fitted with TRIGAT-LR system. System integration and flight trials on Panther (trials helicopter). Guidance firings from Panther and from trials ground vehicle; 1997-2000, industrialisation and start of production; 1999-2001, technical and military trials on Panther and Tiger helicopters; 2000-2001, first production deiveries to Eurocopter for integration on Tiger attack helicopter
Guidance is by an automatic passive imaging infrared CCD homing seeker. Each image recorded is compared with the preceding one by the onboard guidance microprocessor system. This generates flight commands which are transmitted to the aerodynamic flight control surfaces.
A tandem HEAT warhead system is fitted with the missile adopting either a terminal dive to attack armoured targets or a direct attack profile to engage low- flying or hovering helicopters.
The fire-control equipment (computer, display processor, target trackers and alignment processor) evaluates each target acquired by the sensor sight head assembly. This is used for target surveillance, recognition and identification. All the gunner has to do is designate an acquired target for attack. The tracker units allow independent tracking of up to four independent targets automatically.
Once a target is designated, an automatic handover sequence is initiated to a missile seeker so that it can lock on. When this is achieved the missile is fired with the gunner having the option to fire up to four ready to fire rounds at individual targets as a ripple firing within 8 seconds.
Missile launch weight is approximately 40 kg with the dual-thrust solid propellant rocket motor unit providing range engagement limits of 500 to 5,000 m.
The system is designed to be installed on helicopters and is also suitable for a wide range of ground vehicles.
Possible ATGW armour installations
- Tracked Leopard 1 chassis (4-round extendable 15 m turret installation)
- 6x6 TPz-1 Fuchs (4-round compact turret installation - German Army)
- Tracked AMX-10P (4-round compact turret installation - French Army)
- 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 VAB (4-round compact turret installation - French Army).
TRIGAT-LR - advanced system development. TRIGAT-MR - development complete. First production deliveries due in 2002.