Early March saw a significant milestone for MBDA’s ASRAAM missile (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) with the 100th firing being carried out during a recent Typhoon Missile Practice Camp. Between 26th February and 2nd March, four ASRAAMs were successfully launched by Typhoon F2s of Number 3 (Fighter) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire at the Aberporth weapons range in Cardigan Bay, Wales, UK.
These successful ASRAAM firings represent a further step towards Typhoon’s planned take over of the southern element of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) air defence stance, which 3(F) Squadron will carry out from the middle of this year.
ASRAAM has been fired on three different continents (Europe, both the UK and Italy, in Australasia and in North America) and by many aircraft types: F-16A/B and C/D, Tornado F3, Eurofighter Typhoon and F/A-18A/B and C/D. ASRAAM has also been air carried on Canadian CF-18s as well as RAF Jaguar and Tornado GR4.
Weapon trials for ASRAAM have covered a wide range of engagement scenarios that have included shoot up and shoot down engagements, the most severe countermeasure and clutter environments, high off-boresight launches as well as high G and high angles of attack firings.
ASRAAM remains the most advanced short range air-to-air weapon in service today. Matched with Typhoon’s sensor performance, it will remain the principal self-defence weapon for the RAF.
ASRAAM is also in full operational service with the Royal Australian Air Force on their F/A-18 Hornet jets. Looking towards the advent of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, ASRAAM integration is already progressing during the aircraft’s SDD (System Development and Demonstration) phase under contract from Team JSF, and will provide a key self-protect capability to F-35 Lightning II users in the future.
With an annual turnover exceeding €3 billion, a forward order book of over €13 billion and over 70 customers worldwide, MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company. MBDA currently has 45 missile system and countermeasure programmes in operational service and has proven its ability as prime contractor to head major multi-national projects.
MBDA is jointly owned by BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and FINMECCANICA (25%).