Potent SPEAR unleashes F-35’s potential
SPEAR is being developed to deliver airspace control through the defeat of moving, maneuvering, time-sensitive targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of Anti Access and Area Denial capabilities across ranges ensuring survivable stand-off between aircrew and threat.
To be operated by the United Kingdom’s F-35 Lightning II, SPEAR will provide the aircraft with a unique, persistent strike capability, fully exploiting its advanced sensor and network capabilities. There is also the option to equip 4th Generation platforms providing enhanced relevance of the platform in future contested environments.
The results from the Assessment Phase have demonstrated that the missile’s subsystems and functional chains meet the key criteria of the UK’s specified requirements. Successful tests focused on the guidance chain, including seeker and data link, the lethal package, including warhead and fusing, culminated in the first air launched demonstration of controlled powered flight involving the missile’s airframe, navigation and propulsion systems. This firing test took place during March 2016 when a SPEAR missile was launched from a Eurofighter Typhoon trials aircraft operated by BAE Systems achieved all trial objectives.
The Development contract will run through to completion during 2020 and delivers SPEAR, an unrivalled air-to-surface precision strike capability that will be one of the first Weapon systems integrated onto the Joint Strike Fighter that truly exploits the 5th Generation nature of the platform. Delivering the operator flexibility, precision, and survivability required in the future battlespace ensuring Defence Forces operating SPEAR have the combat advantage.