The British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter jets have been integrated with the Meteor air-to-air missile.
The multi-role combat aircraft have also launched with the new missile on a QRA mission from RAF Lossiemouth to defend UK airspace for the first time.
The launch brings an end to several years of research, development and testing to add this additional capability onto Typhoon to ensure it is ready to meet the demands of the future.
Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile has been manufactured by MBDA in Stevenage, UK, and is designed to provide a multi-shot capability against long-range manoeuvring targets.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon, which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances. The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our armed forces.”
“The RAF’s prized Typhoon force is unquestionably now the cornerstone of British and Nato military power. It has proved itself in combat roles over Libya, Iraq and Syria, protecting UK skies and overseas territories, and providing critical support to our Nato allies in Eastern Europe.”
Developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA, Meteor meets the needs of six European nations, which are the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Sweden. The project has created 430 jobs across the country.
The 3.7m-long ramjet-powered Meteor is expected to operate from the F-35 Lightning aircraft in the future.
The Eurofighter Typhoon has been manufactured by a consortium comprising Airbus Defence & Space, BAE Systems and Leonardo Aircraft Division.