Consolidation Is the Game in Paris
One of the more striking features of the recent Paris Air Show was the amalgamation of nearly all European missile systems under the single roof of the emerging MBDA company. The great question is how MBDA will be able to trim its numerous parallel product lines to achieve the economies of scale required if it is to develop new weapons in competition with U.S. firms. For example, in the long-range land-attack cruise missile category, firms which joined together as MBDA produce the Anglo-French SCALP/Storm Shadow, the Swedish-German Taurus (and its unpowered submunitions dispenser version), and the British PGM series. All of these weapons are airlaunched, but a ship-launched version of Taurus is under development, and there has been talk of a ship-launched version of SCALP. For that matter, Saab, which is deeply involved in the Taurus program, also makes RBS 15, an antiship missile with broadly similar performance. Similarly, although it is not part of MBDA, Kongsberg, the Norwegian company, is partnered with the conglomerate in the development of its NSM antiship missile (a Penguin replacement).