MBDA has been contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to support Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) integration onto the new F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jets.
The company will perform production and engineering work required to support Meteor’s compatibility and use from the F-35, MBDA stated.
MBDA will provide the usual suite of test missiles required for an aircraft integration programme.
The deal also covers role change kits for the UK’s common Meteor stockpile for both Typhoon and Lightning.
The Meteor is a ramjet-powered missile that is designed to provide an all-weather capability that can engage a wide variety of targets, including agile fast jets, small unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.
With a diameter of 178mm, the 3.7m-long missile is equipped with both impact and proximity fuses, as well as a fragmentation warhead that detonates on impact, or at the optimum point of interception, to maximise accuracy, MBDA stated.
Developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA, Meteor meets the needs of six European nations, including the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
The UK plans to equip its fleet of F-35s with Meteor missiles in the 2020s.
In addition to Meteor, MBDA’s Spear precision surface attack missile will be integrated onto the F-35 in the future.
Earlier this year, MBDA’s advanced short-range air-to-air missile (ASRAAM) was successfully test-fired from the F-35.
The ASRAAM is being integrated on the F-35 as part of the aircraft’s Block 3 system development and demonstration (SDD) programme.
Image: Meteor is a ramjet-powered missile that is designed to provide an all-weather capability to engage a wide variety of targets. Photo: courtesy of MBDA.