French Navy surface vessels are to be equipped in the future with a new weapon system that will defend them from attack by drone swarms: a gun that will target large numbers of unmanned aircraft with stealth features, flying at low speeds and altitudes.
According to a report published on the Defense News website, the new weapon system called Rapid Fire was jointly designed by Thales and Nexter. The procurement agency of the French military announced that the range of the new gun, based on a 40mm gun, will be 4km, and that it will be installed on a special turret in the deck of a warship. The gun will be operated using an optronic command and control system: approaching threats will be detected by the ship's control system, and from there the data of the targets will be transferred to the operator. The gun will have five kinds of munitions, and automatically select the type most suitable for the attacking target.
The manufacturers announced that the new weapon system is still in the stage of development but a number of firing tests have already taken place, and that in the future it will be possible to operate the gun while on land. The gun, which is expected to be delivered to the French Navy in 2022, has already been chosen as the weapon of the Navy's future ships.