Thales, Nexter to Equip French Navy Ships with RAPIDFire Gun System

French defence procurement agency, DGA has selected the RAPIDFire gun system developed by a consortium formed by Thales and Nexter to equip future French Navy vessels.

RAPIDFire is a close-in weapon system (CIWS) that leverages the combined expertise of Thales and Nexter to meet the very short-range defence requirements of the armed forces. It features a latest-generation multi-threat (air and surface), multi-environment (land and naval) gun system, with a cost of engagement commensurate with the value of the threats.

The system incorporates the new reference medium calibre 40 mm gun developed by CTA International (CTAI), the international subsidiary of Nexter Systems and BAE Systems. The system is compatible with the full range of ammunitions developed for land forces programmes and is predisposed to the use of future ammunition as the smart Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) round.

RAPIDFire offers high precision thanks to its optronic fire control system integrated onto the turret, its advanced algorithms, powerful gun and automatic ammunition management system allowing the best reactivity and efficiency for the operator. The system is capable of intercepting targets up to a distance of 4000 m.

The system will provide the surface vessels with an effective close-in defence capability against modern air and surface threats such as unmanned air and surface vehicles (UAVs, USVs), helicopters, light aircraft and missiles.

Nexter-Thales RapidFire T40 40mm naval gun turret. Infographics by Thales.

“We’re delighted to be supporting the French Navy as it enhances the self-defence capabilities of its warships. With its combination of fast-into-action time and firing accuracy, RAPIDFire, developed in cooperation with Nexter, provides the best response for protecting Navy vessels against modern threats. It has the potential to become a key component of our offering of advanced force protection solutions.” Thomas Got, Vice-President Integrated Airspace-protection Systems, Thales.

“The 40 CTA has unrivalled power and compactness, making it a gun system that is particularly suitable for protecting surface vessels. With RAPIDFire, Nexter is delighted to extend the CTA40’s range of use in cooperation with Thales and the French Navy.” Michel Vatrey, Systems and Programmes Director, Nexter.

Nexter and Thales formed a temporary consortium for RAPIDFire as part of a work programme and roadmap put in place 10 years ago. The programme is currently in the development phase. When development is complete, the weapon systems will enter production, and the first delivery is scheduled for 2022.

Developed in a surface-to-air approach allowing use at sea but also from land, the project also provides an option to prepare for future use on land carriers such as armoured vehicles.

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