Today’s contract helps de-risk the integration effort and includes the mixture of test assets, productionisation and engineering work needed to support Meteor’s compatibility and use from F-35. This is excellent news for the UK’s F-35 Lightning II force, which is planned to be armed with the game-changing Meteor missile in the 2020s.
The test assets being contracted today encompass the usual suite of test missiles required for an aircraft integration programme. Contract scope also includes the role change kits for the UK’s common Meteor stockpile for both Typhoon and Lightning.
Today’s contract follows-on from the successful firing trials of MBDA’s Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) from the F-35 earlier this year. ASRAAM is being integrated onto the F-35 as part of the aircraft’s Block 3 SDD programme.
Also set for future integration onto the F-35 is MBDA’s SPEAR precision surface attack missile. Meteor and SPEAR are advanced weapons that complement the ‘5th gen’ F-35, bringing networked capability with stand-off – both weapons are key elements of the UK’s carrier strike capability in the future.