A consortium formed by Thales and Nexter has been selected by the French defense procurement agency to supply their RAPIDFire CT40 gun system to equip future French Navy vessels, providing close-in defense capability against air and surface threats.
RAPIDFire offers high precision thanks to its optronic fire control system integrated onto the turret and uses the new 40 mm gun developed by CTAI, the international subsidiary of Nexter Systems and BAE Systems. This has a firing rate of up to 200 rounds per minute using airburst ammunition and an effective firing range of 4,000 meters against air targets and up to 2,500 meters against surface threats. It can fire in a fully autonomous mode and is equipped with infrared and daylight TV channels, as well as a laser range finder.
Thomas Got, Vice-President Integrated Airspace-protection Systems at Thales, said that:
“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.”.
First delivery of RAPIDFire is scheduled for 2022. Once in production Thales and Nexter expect to offer land-based version of the system, allowing joint-service use of components and ammunition.
With the efficiency of loitering munitions and drones being all too clearly demonstrated in current conflicts, it may be that the consortium find that demands for an ”off-the-shelf” solution to close range, rapid-response precision air defence issues may be quite popular.