Weapon System Architecture & Equipment

WSA & E develops world class product solutions in the areas of Command & Control (C2), Mission Control (MC), Mission Planning (MP), and Network-Enabled Capability (NEC). Specialising in system architecture and design, experimentation, synthetic environments and human factors, our WSA & E engineers ensure that the delivery of our products meets and exceeds the set requirements, in terms of performance, quality, budget and timescale.

Mission Planning

Our engineers produce mission planning systems in conjunction with the missile design team. They liaise with the software teams who undertake the software design and code. Close involvement with the customer throughout ensures that the solution matches their concept of operation and is easy to use.

Command and Control

Our system designers must have a broad understanding of software design processes and architectures, complex algorithms, system logic, safety, security, operator viewpoints and operational context. They must work with conventional system engineers, software designers, model developers, synthetic environments and human factor specialists.

Synthetic Environments (SE)

Linking together models, simulations and real equipment to support the weapon system development is essential in testing our future systems. The use of SE can range from concept studies employing relatively low fidelity models, to experiments incorporating real equipment and military personnel across a number of sites.

Experimentation and System Integration

All our system facilities are virtually connected in a single capability, accommodating a wide range of weapon system types. Our Experimentation and System Integration capability has been designed to match and understand demands, both now and in a rapidly advancing network connected future.

Weapon System Equipment

Our innovative approach to hardware elements allows for rapid prototyping of future systems and has been successful in the design of our Firing Units. We’re also developing key Weapon System equipment policies that will maximise our efficiency. These solutions will then be applied to the design of other hardware domains, such as shelters and data links.

Human Factors

Human Factors Engineering ensures that systems and equipment designs match the user requirements. Human Factors is integrated within Systems Engineering to provide essential user input early and throughout a product’s life cycle. MBDA UK’s experience covers the design and evaluation of systems across a range of military applications.

Missile Architecture & Equipment

Missile Architecture & Equipment (MAE) is responsible for defining the physical requirements of a missile for a diverse range of land, sea and air weapon systems.

Our expert engineers provide innovative ideas that can be modelled, simulated and then tested in a variety of environmental conditions. MAE is the home of MBDA’s Missile Chief Design Engineers (CDE’s) who are responsible for the design and development of the physical specifications of a missile.


Our world-class capability in airframe design and guided weapons aerodynamics ensures that MBDA is one of the few European companies with a core of experts who can cover the full operating domain.

This is supported by investment in novel airframe design, multi-disciplinary optimisation and rapid analysis methods.


The propulsion technology skill area is fundamental in determining the performance characteristics of a missile system. Our ability to define and integrate propulsion systems is vital in ensuring that future missile systems can match the increasingly demanding battlefield requirements for longer range, higher velocity and greater manoeuvrability against time critical targets.

Lethality & warheads

MBDA is responsible for the design of many warheads and its expertise supports the whole product life-cycle, from the development of concept warhead solutions, through qualification, to life-extension of in-service warheads. Supporting skills include expertise in the characteristics of explosives and the planning and conduct of safe trials.


Sensors are key components of MBDA products, encompassing the seekers and instrumentation sensors for guided weapon systems. These include Radio Frequency (RF) and Electo Optical (EO) sensors, Inertial Navigation (IN) Sensors and Radio Navigation by Satellites (RNS). Additionally, RF data links provide the necessary command and control capability for our weapon systems.  

Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineering is responsible for defining, simulating and testing against shock, vibration and climatic environments, to prove our missile systems are fit for service.

Missile Dynamics

The Missile Dynamics function focuses on the design, development and integration of robust guidance and control algorithms and image processing and navigational systems. These are then put to use in a wide variety of complex weapon applications.

Our systems and hardware testing facilities are the best in Europe and deliver high integrity systems, at lower cost, with a reduced need for firing trials and their associated costs.

Guidance, Control & Navigation

Our specialists develop the specifications required for missile aerodynamics, seekers, propulsion units, fin actuators, altimeters and inertial measurement units (IMUs) along with their synchronicity. Preliminary designs for the mid-course and terminal guidance laws and the autopilot give way to detailed trade-off simulation studies, eventually yielding the optimised detailed design of G&C algorithms into flight software.


We design, develop and integrate navigation systems, using single or multiple sensors, for missiles with ranges from a few hundred metres to several hundred kilometres.

Advanced Navigation Techniques is a specialist core competency, where research studies and algorithm development for new and existing weapon systems are conducted by a team of highly experienced engineers.

Image Processing

Image processing algorithm design is a skill that promotes the integration of image sensor data into a guided weapon to achieve system level performance. We’ve shown that by considering image processing technologies as part of the complete processing chain it is possible to deliver enhanced capability for existing and future systems.

Hardware in the Loop

Hardware-in-the-Loop (HWIL) simulation is a technique to provide an effective platform for developing and testing real-time embedded systems. This enables MBDA to construct and use a range of complex simulations of modern weapon systems, employing Infra-red (IR) or radio-frequency (RF) sensors to analyse their performance against targets and counter-measures in both the infrared and radio wavebands.

Simulation & Modelling

Mathematical modelling is the capability to produce a mathematical representations of the characteristics of a real-world system or situation. Mathematical models are executed in a computer to simulate predictions of future system behaviour under a variety of different conditions. This capability is continuously improved through a multi-national research programme.

Software Engineering & Technologies

Our Software Engineering capability is fundamental to providing the intelligent software solutions essential for MBDA’s range of complex weapon systems, across a multitude of platforms all over the world.

As a Software Engineer with MBDA you will be part of the team developing world-class missile systems through the complete range of software product lifecycle activities. You will be using the latest tools to create high quality, innovative software solutions for our air, sea and ground-based products.

Embedded Software

MBDA has a long-standing capability in missile embedded software, responsible for all aspects of missile behaviour during operation. Software is prevalent in most subsystems including the weapon control unit, actuators, seekers and datalinks. These sub-systems are typically characterised as hard real-time, high integrity requiring both architectural and algorithmically complex solutions.

System Software

We develop the large-scale Command and Control software systems that perform surveillance, threat analysis and plan and execute engagements. Launch management and datalinks are also a part of this area of software capability.

Mission Planning and Control Software

      Working alongside colleagues across the company, our Mission Planning & Control solutions involve analysis of mission environments; creation of high-accuracy 3d target models; development of large-scale deployment planning and mission planning software; and reactive man-in-the-loop and automatic mission control systems. 

Test and Support Equipment

Supporting all MBDA’s product range, we deliver effective test software solutions, from a single missile test harness; to the simulation of complete missile control and launch systems; to the development of training packages. Working alongside the prime equipment development teams, this domain requires very agile solutions, being responsive to the various demands of the products and the environment. 

Systems Design

Our System Design engineers are fundamental to the development activities of our systems. And our world class defence products cover all segments of the missile industry in terms of platforms and targets (Ground and Naval Based Defence, Air-to-Air, Precision Strike, Anti-Tank and airborne countermeasure systems).

Integration and Systems Validation

Integration and Systems Validation includes trials planning and conduct, support equipment, weapon and countermeasure systems integration, and platform integration of MBDA’s products with air, land and naval platforms.

Safety & Dependability

Safety and Dependability (S&D) provide specialist functional support in the areas of safety, reliability and information security to assist project teams in the management of these technical risks. Our experts are either seconded to project teams or operate on a consultancy basis, depending upon the project stage and need.

Engineering and Seekers

This team is responsible for future preparation by defining and implementing strategies for innovation, technology and internal research and development investment. They directly manage all the internal research and development funding.

Seeker Design

MBDA maintains world class capability in seeker design and integration skills, underpinning its position as a world class weapon system supplier. Continued research and prototyping of vital and new technologies ensures that we are well placed to be able to bring cost effective solutions to all our products.

Future Systems

The Future Systems Directorate is responsible for designing concepts and systems to meet our customers’ future military requirements. The team also manage programmes through the Concept and Assessment phases of the product life-cycle to achieve a smooth transition into the Programmes Directorate.

Capability Analysis

Capability Analysis is MBDA’s vital link between the user and the System Designer. We need to understand and analyse user requirements and capability gaps to develop operationally viable and cost effective system concepts and product improvements. Capability Analysis is closely linked to human factors, synthetic environments and experimentation and shapes solutions through liaison with customer military experts.

Industrial Policy & Supply Chain

The Industrial Policy & Supply Chain Directorate is responsible for leading the definition and implementation of a Supply Chain Architecture. This is done with the support of other directorates in order to achieve alignment with the industrial strategies of the national MoDs. It is also responsible for leading the definition and implementation of Industrial Policy for main equipment domains, with the support of other directorates.