BAE Systems has successfully completed guided firing trials of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.
Performed at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Hebrides range, the trials saw the aircraft launching guided Meteor firings against real air targets in pre-planned scenarios.
Manufactured by MBDA, Meteor is an active radar guided missile designed to provide a multi-shot capability against long-range manoeuvring targets, such as fast jets, small unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles in a heavy electronic countermeasures environment.
Test pilot Nat Makepeace said: "The missile separated very cleanly and guided very successfully towards its target maintaining a datalink communication between the weapon and the aircraft."
The trial involved a Typhoon aircraft IPA6, which is a Tranche 2 standard aircraft equipped with the latest P2E software.
Makepeace added: "This year is undoubtedly one of the most exciting years I have experienced in the development of Typhoon.
"We are taking to the skies with upgraded software, trialling new night vision helmet technologies, developing and expanding weapons capabilities and looking forward to flying the Captor E-scan radar, all in the space of one year."
The trials were part of the flight test campaign for the ‘phase two enhancements’ (P2E) programme, which aims to introduce a range of new and enhanced long range attack capabilities including Meteor and Storm Shadow missiles.
The Meteor weapon integration improves Typhoon’s swing-role capabilities, which will permit the pilot to engage hostile air threats at long-range, and also identify and engage targets on the ground.
The tests, which were conducted with support from QinetiQ, MBDA and Selex, also form part of a Nato Eurofighter and the Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) contract to fully integrate the Meteor missile onto Typhoon by 2017.
Image: Eurofighter Typhoon launching guided Meteor firings against real air targets in pre-planned scenarios during the trials. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.