MBDA has awarded a contract to Harris to develop and provide carriage and release systems for the UK’s SPEAR precision strike missile that will be carried on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter.
Announced during Defence and Security Equipment (DSEI) 2017, the contract will see Harris provide four internal bay-compatible Scorpion lightweight ejection rack units (ERUs) for each of the two F-35 weapon bays.
The contract provides an option for the upcoming demonstration phase and has been awarded after the completion of the concept assessment phase.
The ERUs are designed to provide the pilots with a high degree of weapon departure control and will deliver sophisticated ejection performance.
Harris Electronic Systems president Ed Zoiss said: “The MBDA SPEAR weapon, combined with our delivery system, offers an advanced precision strike capability for existing aircraft and future fifth-generation air platforms, both manned and unmanned.
“We continue to expand our international presence for pneumatic launcher technology in this high-performance, mission-critical application.”
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Production of the ERUs is being carried out at the company’s Brighton facility in the UK.
Designed by MBDA, the SPEAR 3 missile is currently under design and development phase and will be used within the internal weapons bay of the UK’s future F-35B.
SPEAR 3 belongs to the same family of weapons as Brimstone and uses an innovative turbojet engine that gives it a range of more than 60 miles. It is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s.