MBDA completes ASRAAM firing trials with F-35 Lightning II


MBDA has successfully completed firing trials of the advanced short-range air-to-air missile (ASRAAM) from a F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Performed at both Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base in the US, the trials saw the aircraft launching a British-designed missile for the first time.

MBDA said that it conducted both flight trials and air-launched firings of the ASRAAM.

The ASRAAM is an infrared-guided missile that has been designed to provide enhanced aerial combat capabilities for fighter aircraft.

The missile can be deployed to engage targets within visual range (WVR) combat operations and under complex environmental conditions.

It is currently in service with the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) as its WVR dominance weapon and with the Royal Australian Air Force on its F/A-18 Hornet.

The 2.9m-long weapon has an operational range of more than 25km, MBDA stated.

MBDA's ASRAAM accepts target information through the aircraft sensors, such as the radar or helmet mounted sight but can also act as an autonomous infrared search and track system.

"The missile can be deployed to engage targets within visual range (WVR) combat operations and under complex environmental conditions."

The development trials are being conducted as part of the integration programme for ASRAAM onto the UK’s F-35 aircraft.

These integration activities will allow the aircraft to achieve the initial operating capability.

MBDA is also under contract for the ASRAAM capability sustainment programme (CSP) to build replenishment missiles for the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.


Image: A F-35 conducting first firings of MBDA’s ASRAAM. Photo: courtesy of MBDA.