The UK has awarded a contract to MBDA to pave the way for the integration of the Meteor missile on its F-35 fleet.
According to MBDA:
“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 Lightning II force, which is planned to be armed with the game-changing Meteor missile in the 2020s.”
Also set for future integration onto the F-35 is MBDA’s SPEAR 3 precision surface attack missile. The ‘Select Precision Effects At Range Capability’ (SPEAR 3) is an air-to-ground, anti-tank, anti-structure and anti-ship missile.
SPEAR Cap 3 is characterised by the MoD as a capability “focused on the enduring requirement to engage mobile and fixed targets in hostile and complex environments”.
The missile takes the shape of a medium-range (around 120km), mini-cruise missile designed for internal carriage by the F-35.
MBDA is planning integration of Meteor on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Block 4. The Meteor has already been checked for fit in the internal weapons bays of the jet and is compatible with the aircraft’s internal air-to-ground stations, but would require modification of the fin span and air intakes to be compatible with the air-to-air stations.