The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed a contract worth over £400M with MBDA for the Weapon Development Phase of the SPEAR air to surface, precision strike missile. This contract will further advance MBDA’s SPEAR weapon design and builds on a successful series of technical milestones during the preceding Assessment Phase. The contract will run through to completion during 2020 and will employ 350 highly skilled missile engineering jobs across MBDA’s sites in Stevenage, Bristol and Lostock, with an equivalent number of jobs in the wider supply chain.
The SPEAR missile is being developed to meet the UK’s Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 3 (SPEAR 3) requirement for the UK’s F-35 aircraft, with the option to equip the Typhoon aircraft. SPEAR will precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, whilst ensuring a safe stand-off range between the aircrew and threat air defences.
Welcoming the contract, MBDA’s Executive Group Technical Director and UK Managing Director Dave Armstrong said, “Delivering the solution for the UK’s SPEAR 3 requirement is an important programme for MBDA, and for the future operators of the F-35 in both the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm. The contract confirms SPEAR as the only weapon to meet the UK’s operational requirements. It delivers a UK sovereign capability on the F-35 that will bring the kind of precision against moving targets previously seen with Brimstone, but at stand-off ranges that give the aircrew numerous advantages in terms of operational flexibility and survivability.” MBDA’s CEO Antoine Bouvier added “MBDA’s selection to provide SPEAR confirms the company’s position as the European leader in complex weapons and importantly positions MBDA in the international arena for the next decade with this unique precision strike capability.”