MBDA has started deliveries of the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) for the forthcoming integration onto the UK’s F-35B.

The Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile is an infrared homing air-to-air missile (what most call “heat seeking”). It’s currently in service in the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force, replacing the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

ASRAAM will be the first UK missile to arm the F-35 and its integration within the F-35 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the programme will give the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy’s F-35s a highly capable, passive, Within Visual Range air-to-air capability.

The missile is designed to outrange and outrun any other infrared homing missile in service, allowing the pilot to fire and then turn away long before the opposing aircraft can close for a shot. It flies at over Mach 3 to ranges as great as 50 km.

The project started as a British-German collaboration in the 1980’s. Germany however left the program and the UK proceeded on their own, the missile was introduced into RAF service in 1998. On the 8th of July 2014 India & the UK signed a deal to procure 384 ASRAAM from MBDA to replace the ageing Matra Magic R550.

British Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:

“The upcoming work to integrate the MBDA Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile onto the F-35 Lightning aircraft will provide a state of the art weapon for both our RAF and Royal Navy pilots.

The integration of this missile also demonstrates the success of the UK Defence industry’s contribution to the wider F-35 programme. Around 15 per cent in value of every F-35 is being built here in the UK and the work is invaluable to British industry, supporting thousands of jobs across the UK.”

According to MBDA:

“These test missiles will be used during 2016 for a series of flight trials and air-launched firings that are a key step towards the Initial Operating Capability of the aircraft by the UK. The trials will include environmental data gathering, safe separation from the aircraft, weapon integration with the F-35’s on-board systems, and lastly, weapon firing trials involving the engagement of targets. These integration activities will take place at both the Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force base in the USA.”

Britain is to purchase 138 F-35B aircraft.

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Frankie Hayward
Frankie Hayward (@guest_348311)
5 years ago

James Punt

Andreas Iliopoulos
Andreas Iliopoulos (@guest_348312)
5 years ago

Daniel Kent

Jony Lemon Jones
Jony Lemon Jones (@guest_348313)
5 years ago

The implications of an F35 firing off an ASRAAM? Quite obviously it’s an integral part of any front line combat aircraft and something it needs to be able to do regardless though. What’s the current state with the AMRAAM or indeed ALRAAM side of things, it’s BVR punch?

Dave B Philips
Dave B Philips (@guest_348315)
5 years ago

About time the reliable but ageing Aim 9’s were replaced, they’ve been around almost as long as the jet aircraft itself!

Jonny Davies
Jonny Davies (@guest_348319)
5 years ago

Meteor will be its bvr missile but with a clipped fin

Jake Hayes
Jake Hayes (@guest_348325)
5 years ago

I thought the aim 9x is what we were gonna have since they go on about how good it is what’s the difference between both missiles? What’s better?

James Gale
James Gale (@guest_348339)
5 years ago
Reply to  Jake Hayes

ASRAAM of course…keep up ?

Jake Hayes
Jake Hayes (@guest_348340)
5 years ago
Reply to  Jake Hayes

Thpught so but the Americans saw the aim 9 x is the best but that’s them aha 😉

David Nicholls
David Nicholls (@guest_348326)
5 years ago

Is ASRAAM good out to 50km? Is that from Mach 1.6 at 50k feet? What may be interesting that the RAF is buying new Sea Ceptor based ASRAAMs rather than do a mid-life refurbishment. Could they use the active radar seeker of the Sea Ceptor inthe air-to-air mode?

Chris Harding
Chris Harding (@guest_348327)
5 years ago

with the internal bay built to house the sidewinder does the ASRAAM fit internally? or will RN F-35s be forced to fly with hardpoints when mounting them?

James Gale
James Gale (@guest_348336)
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris Harding

ASRAAM will only be fitted externally.

david southern
david southern (@guest_348352)
5 years ago

Excuse my ignorance but 50km range? is that not AMRAAM? What range is classified as within visual range?

Jim (@guest_348895)
5 years ago

50km is beyond my visual range, it’s from here it’s the other side of Shefield, Biggles must have cracking eyesight