British F-35B jets will be equipped with Meteor missiles by the ‘middle of this decade’ say the Ministry of Defence.
The information came to light in a response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons.
Mark Francois, Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford, asked:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his timetable is for the Meteor air-to-air missile to achieve initial operating capability on the F-35 aircraft.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“Initial development work for Meteor integration has progressed well. The Lightning Delivery Team within Defence Equipment and Supply (DE&S), through F-35 Joint Program Office has signed a contract to integrate Meteor in the middle of the decade.”
Previously we reported that a team of BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA engineers are enhancing the capability of the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning aircraft by commencing work on the integration of next generation weapons.
BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile. Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on ASRAAM and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability for the UK.
Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said:
“This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work.”
Meteor is a ‘Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile’ system developed by MBDA.
The Meteor programme sees the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden working together to provide access to technology and expertise across those nations.
The Ministry of Defence recently revealed the cost of adding ASRAAM and SPEAR-3 missiles as well as Paveway IV guided bombs to the F-35B Lightning II.
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