The Ministry of Defence has revealed the cost of adding ASRAAM and SPEAR-3 missiles as well as Paveway IV guided bombs to the F-35B Lightning II.
The information came to light in response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons.
Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for North Durham, asked:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate his Department has made of the cost of integrating a (a) ASRAAM, (b) Paveway IV guided bomb and (c) SPEAR 3 long-range precision weapon onto the F-35B Lightning II.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:
What do those weapons do?
ASRAAM, according to its manufacturers:
“ASRAAM is in service with the Royal Air Force as its Within Visual Range (WVR) Dominance weapon. The weapon is also in operational service with the Royal Australian Air Force on its F/A-18 Hornet. In WVR air combat, the ability to strike first is vital. A pilot engaging an enemy needs a missile that reacts more rapidly than ever before with the speed and agility to maximise the probability of a kill, regardless of evasive target manoeuvres or the deployment of countermeasures. ASRAAM has proven this capability.
ASRAAM accepts target information via the aircraft sensors, such as the radar or helmet mounted sight but can also act as an autonomous infrared search and track system. The RAAF has demonstrated successful ‘over the shoulder’ firing in Lock On After Launch (LOAL) mode against target drones that were behind the wing-line of the launch aircraft. Already fully integrated with proven reliability on Typhoon, Tornado and F/A-18, ASRAAM is also being integrated onto the F-35 Lightning II. Proven capability demonstrated by firings from a range of aircraft, including: F-16, F/A-18, Tornado F3, Tornado GR4 and Typhoon aircraft.”
SPEAR-3, according to its manufacturers:
“Building on the technology developed for various programs (including the Brimstone and the Dual Mode Brimstone Air-to-Ground missiles), MBDA UK is designing a solution for the Selected Precision Effects At Range(SPEAR 3), capability 3 requirements.
This new, F-35 Lightning II internal bay compatible, Air-to-surface missile would allow an attack with high precision and low collateral damage at stand-off ranges with a cost-efficient missile, against a very broad range of surface targets.”
We also took a look at SPEAR-3 a few years ago. You can read our article by clicking here or clicking below.
Finally, Paveway IV according to its manufacturers:
“Newer versions of the Paveway bomb are equipped with global positioning and inertial navigation system capabilities.
This innovation combines the accuracy and flexibility of traditional laser-guided weapons with the all-weather capability of GPS guidance. The result is decreased sortie counts and weapon inventory and an increased mission success rate.”