The ‘Select Precision Effects At Range Capability 3’ (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.

According to MBDA, the system is effective against:

• Air Defence Units, Ballistic Missile launchers
• Defended structures
• Fast moving and manoeuvring vehicles
• Main Battle Tanks, Self-Propelled Guns, Armoured Personnel Carriers
• Naval vessels

The design of SPEAR 3 takes into account the characteristics and internal weapon constraints of the F-35B, four missiles can be accommodated in each of the F-35Bs two internal weapon bays, making for a total of 8 missiles per aircraft.

Mid-course guidance will be performed using GPS or inertial navigation utilising a two-way datalink, this enables mid-course updates, re-targeting and mission abort functions.

The UK is looking to integrate SPEAR 3 as part of Block 4 software integration on the F-35. In May last year, the MoD awarded a £411 million contract to MBDA to that effect.

In March 2016, a SPEAR trials missile was launched from a Typhoon trial aircraft operated by BAE Systems at the QinetiQ Aberporth range in Wales.

The missile transitioned through separation from the Typhoon aircraft to powered flight before completing a series of manoeuvres, ending in a terminal dive to the desired point of impact. According to reports, the missile accurately followed the planned trajectory and was well within simulation predictions; all trial objectives were achieved.

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Ben P
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Ben P

It is a pretty important weapon system. It will give our Typhoons and F35s alot of bite and if the naval side progressives, then it will give us a much needed air-launched anti-ship weapon.

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

What is the size other warhead? most anti ship missiles have a warhead of over 200kg anything less than this would not be able to neutralise a frigate sized warship.

raftastic
Guest

Although this missile couldn’t kill the ship in the same way as something like an Exocet, because it can be so accurately targetted, it could take out the ships bridge, flight deck, radar systems or hole the hull.

These things would essentially cripple the frigate/destroyer and deny them a means of retaliation.

So as much as I’d to see us use a full blown ship killer, I think this will provide a better capability in cluttered environments and limited or restricted RoE.

Hope this helps.

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

Thanks for the reply.

Are you suggesting the guidance system of this missile has the ability to identify specific parts of a ship to enable to decide which part it will hit, eg the bridge?

Steve
Guest
Steve

My guess is that they specify navel vessel rather than specific size of vessels indicates it is meant for more light vessels like patrol boats. However if it is capable of taking on an advanced air defense system, then chucking say 4 of these at even a large ship is likely to do some serious dmg.

raftastic
Guest

I don’t know 100% if that’s the case, but I’m relatively sure these weapons have a high degree of accuracy.

Gunbuster or someone else might be along to prove me wrong (or right)

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I believe this is how the helicopter Sea Venom achieves its effect. By tramsmittimg ( an IR?) picture back to the launch platform which remains below the radar horizon – so it can be manually guided onto a specific point like the mast or missile launch tubes. In addition I think it also has a fire and forget mode. So in theory MBDA could incorporate these seeker stratagems into Spear 3. Which is not to say they have of course.

David Steeper
Guest

I would not like to be on any ship no matter the size that was hit by 4 or 8 of these things !

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

Wiki says the missile itself weighs 100kg, so warhead probably not much bigger than the sea Skua had.

TW
Guest
TW

Id also like to know the warhead size, given the number that fit in the weapons bay I would assume something comparable to a Brimstone which is small for anti-ship use.

That said when ships are lost its often due to uncontrollable fires. More missiles increases the chance of a hit, complicates the picture for AA defenses and means you are likely to hit and disable more ship components. Four of these missiles is probably going to be significantly more effective than a single harpoon or similar for ASW.

Stuart Willard
Guest

Can’t guarantee it but I thought I read somewhere some months ago that the missile was capable of disabling a vessel up to the size of a Corvette. If that is a single missile presumably accurately targeted where it counts, then 2 or 3 would potentially seriously hurt a frigate or destroyer. A nice capability but not probably something you would wish to rely on as your first line of attack against larger vessels.

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

Dont we already have a lot of great anti tank and anti structure weaponry? What we need is anti ship missiles, they should concentrate on that.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Lewis, when you consider the combat effect this missile / aircraft combination will have , its a real game changer. A single F35 flying at 25000 ft, will be able to sanitise a huge area and have a kill box 65 miles around it. That’s a very impressive capability and gives a single aircraft enormous effect. With regards ship capability, it’s main target would be Corvette and smaller ships. Plus, a SPEAR3 would be well able to cause considerable damage to a major war ship, it doesn’t have to sink it, only knock it out of the fight. if its… Read more »

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

That would be ideal but if it costs over £400 million per platform type to integrate then it might be F-35B only. Maybe the £400 million to MBDA is for development AND integration, the article is not clear. If that’s the case and only part of the £400 million is for integration on F-35B then we can probably manage to get it on other platforms as well.

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

Yes but with the same effect you could use Brimestone, GBUs and Hellfires. What we severely lack is anti ship capability for jets. It would be preferable if this was a dedicated anti ship missile.

But then again it’s a pipe dream, they’ve gone with a multirole missile. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

As I understand it the plan is that it will be also be integrated onto Typhoon, which if it carries Meteor, Paveway, Brimstone and Spear 3 will as you say control an area of radius at least 60 miles in the air and on the ground especially if fitted with Captor-E.

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

Nothing we currently has offers the capabilities of spear 3.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Is it just me or is this a bigger version of Brimstone?

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Yep, Brimstone on Steroids with much longer legs..

We should also integrate the missile on our Reaper force. Assuming it can be remotely targeted by other aircraft that is.

Imagine a “Sentinel type” aircraft, targeting at range for a couple of SPEAR equipped reapers, somewhere like Afghanistan. Tremendous capability.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Similar concept I think; networked and able to hit mobile targets. Brimstone is a supersonic rocket powered missile with an armour piercing warhead, a tank killer. Spear 3 is a subsonic turbojet but with a much longer range than either Brimstone or the US small diameter bomb which is a glide weapon they will fit to their F-35s. I’m guessing either weapon should be able to hit a mobile SAM radar for example.

Julian
Guest
Julian

The article doesn’t say anything about terminal guidance. As I understand it, and unless stuff got dropped from the plan in the last few years, in addition to targeting a GPS coordinate it also has a fully active millimetric radar seeker that, if a suitable profile is in its database, can even target the turret ring on a tank for example. It also has a semi-active laser seeker so a target can be designated by a third party, e.g. perhaps a special forces unit calling in a strike. Pacman27 – From my understanding that’s a reasonable accurate simple summary although… Read more »

Ron5
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Ron5

Note both CAMM and CAMM-ER have boosters. The ER one is fatter and longer.

Pete murdoch
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Pete murdoch

I to really like S3 capability and concept. I think it will be a fantastic addition within its limitations. My only sobering comment… And open to be corrected… It that the combined F35 flying radius and S3 range is still less than the longest range Russian anti ship missiles.

Can’t loose sight of need for a Harpoon replacement.

Pete murdoch
Guest
Pete murdoch

Why is comment awaiting moderation?

Pete murdoch
Guest
Pete murdoch

Seriously…. Is this on old boys network….. closed shop forum. Feels like it.

Bye

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

The new US anti ship missile LRASM has a 450kg warhead, the Norwegian JSM (which can be fitted internally on F35) has a 250kg warhead.

The Spear 3 in total weighs around 100kg so the warhead is going to be less than 50,kg.

Why is it that all nations developing new anti ship missiles think there is a need for a heavy warhead yet the UK does not.

What am I missing here? It would appear the anti ship capability of SPEAR 3 is extremely limited.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Isn’t there a problem that some of these missiles only fit the f35a and not the b version, because the b’s have a smaller internal bay?

Julian
Guest
Julian

No, they do fit internally in the B. As I understand it each bay can hold 4 Spear 3 on the internal rail plus one Meteor on the inside of the weapon bay door so a total internal load for an F-35B (using both internal bays) is 8 x Spear3 plus 2 x Meteor.

Personally I would be much less excited about it if it couldn’t be carried internally by an F-35B.

Bloke down the pub
Guest
Bloke down the pub

I think Steve was referring to the JSM not fitting inside the F35b, only the a’s and c’s. When there is a need for the UK F35s to remain stealthy, Spear may be a better option in some cases than carrying LRASM or JSM externally, though I would certainly see the acquisition of one of these as beneficial.

Julian
Guest
Julian

D’oh. Of course he is. Thanks BdtP and sorry for the misunderstanding Steve.

It is indeed a big disappointment that JSM won’t fit into an F-35B internal bay. With Norway presumably going to integrate it onto their P-8A at some point, and NSM being a very interesting box launched anti ship missile for T31 and maybe elsewhere, the NSM/JSM technology looks widely applicable for the UK. Internal F-35B carriage would have been the real icing on the cake.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I think Spear 3 is being designed around the F-35B internal weapons bay.

A. Smith
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A. Smith

I think box launched NSM should be added to the Type 45’s and Type 31e’s. I can’t see the Type 45’s getting Mark 41. VLS with the ongoing cuts.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Why would you wish to put MK 41 on the T45? We have a more covert platform for land attack in the sub force. The T45 already has room for 16 Harpoon size SSM. I would rather see more VLS for Sea Viper and added Sea Ceptor.

Matt
Guest
Matt

This is not an anti-ship missile. Its a mini cruise missile that has advanced precise targeting and capabilities to deal with agile targets.

Julian
Guest
Julian

I think that what you’re missing Mike is that Spear 3 isn’t really an anti-ship missile, it’s primarily a small ground target missile but MBDA are throwing in all the possible secondary uses into the marketing blurb. MBDA has also mentioned the possibility of adding the ability for Sea Ceptor to do surface engagement and, were that to happen, you presumably wouldn’t become super-critical of the whole Sea Ceptor program because it does not compare in its secondary use scenario with missiles specifically designed for surface engagement. I don’t think that anyone really thinks that Spear 3 against a large… Read more »

Stuart Willard
Guest

Well said Sir, people don’t view things in a conflict situation often enough where re-stocking of your armaments may not be a reliable or predictable process. To have a system that is good at what it does ie take out small targets (which is still arguably the most likely scenario In today’s politically fractious world anyway) while offering a useful back up to whatever main offensive anti ship capability you have is a fabulous asset. One only has to look at past conflicts where regular use of weapons or technology in scenarios they were not specifically designed for was crucial… Read more »

David Stephen
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David Stephen

We can’t afford to develop everything and can procure an ASM solution from either of the allies you mention. As long as we buy LRASM to replace Harpoon and eventually Tomahawk I will be happy.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

The UK is developing an anti-ship missile with France, it does not need LRASM.

Stuart Willard
Guest

Well that capability won’t be available till perhaps late 2020s or even 30s though from what I have read. Unless that timescale is well off or I am mistaken surely something needs to fill the gap of losing Harpoon?

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Who says the UK will be losing Harpoon? Type 23’s will be in service for many years to come.

Evan P
Guest
Evan P

Apparently we won’t lose Harpoon until at least 2020 (so we’ll lose them in 2020), so we’ll have T23s, but not the missiles. Perseus is bound to go over budget and get delayed so we’re probably looking at the mid 2030s for it to come into service. That’s a huge gap that needs to be filled by a capable weapon.

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

The Type 31e is due to enter service from 2023 and the new British / French missile is not due until 2030, so we’ll either end up with Harpoon for the next 12 years (which is scandalous) or we have a stop gap where I think box launched NSM would be ideal.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

Pretty shore the mod are getting the us missile for the type 26, so presumably f35 will get it to. Besides this missile isn’t specifically for anti ship work, just an add bounce.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Cobblers.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Lots of love for LRASM on this site and others. But its still in development and may or may not be ordered for the USN in bulk.

And folks are forgetting the joint Anglo-French program for a heavyweight anti-ship/land attack missile that will follow on from Storm Shadow and will equip UK F-35’s.

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

Yes, the British / French missile is not due until 2030. Sticking with Harpoon for a further 12 years is unthinkable. We need a stop gap where box launched NSM would be ideal in my opinion.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Yes buy the Bramos SSM it is suprtsonic and much nastier than the Harpoon.

Mr J Bell
Guest
Mr J Bell

I think the UK military are onto something here. Imagine the potential damage to a major warship hit by 18-24 of these missiles each independently targeting sensitive spots eg hangar, CIWS, radar sets, bridge, waterline etc etc An accumulation of damage that would take the ship out of action for a very long period of time or make the ship much more easy pickings for a follow up astute class strike. Just so long as the cost per missile is not £1 million each (needs to be £250k or less) and we can order in thousands of them. Otherwise this… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Certainly i think in a modern warfare situation a saturation style attack is the only way to get through a modern air defence. Ok flying low to the water, like Argentina did to great effect in the Falklands, is always going to be difficult to deal with, but that only works if there is no air borne radar in the area which you assume most modern tasks groups would have.

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

I agree that a saturation against naval targets will overcome the most robust defence systems, but the most effective way is stealth missiles with large warheads at maximum stand off range.

Spear 3 has no stealth capability, a small warhead and the launch range is well within the air defence systems of modern naval warships

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Really? Are you sure of that.

BB85
Guest
BB85

I would take low cost saturation missiles over high cost stealth missiles everyday of the week. Stealth missiles will still be detected by IRST and unless they are travelling at mach 4 will be easily intercepted. It’s much harder to block 8 missiles than it is to block 1. Also spending $1mm on a missile to take out a single terrorist because there is no cheaper alternative is costing the tax payer a fortune.

Stuart Willard
Guest

But surely the aircraft firing it has stealth of the highest quality. If not then seems pretty pointless paying fortunes to add similar ‘suspect’ stealth to a small expendable missile. Equally it’s small size and the option for multiple attack would arguably be at least as useful as a larger more stealthy single missile. Though only a real life conflict would prove that argument either way I suspect.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Not forgetting that the Mk45 5 in gun, which will be fitted on Type 26 and hopefully on Type 45 and Type 31 will have an option for guided over the horizon shells. They will not be cheap but with a rate of fire of 15 or 20 shells a minute and a range of perhaps 50 miles or more do you really need a short – medium range anti ship missile?

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

So we would have to launch say 12+ of these missiles to do the same amount of damage as 1 LRASM or JSM.

That doesn’t make military or economic sense.

Of course Spear 3 could take out a small ship with one strike, same as a Sea Skua/ Sea Venom type missile, but in reality it will not offer the UK a viable air launched anti ship missile capability against major warships.

Given our global naval aspirations, should not the UK procure a modern ship, submarine and aircraft launched anti ship missile rather than fudging the issue with spear 3?

Paul
Guest
Paul

Mike it depends, if the single missile gets shot down you do no damage at all. If you shoot down 6 of the Spear 3, you still wreck the target with the remaining 6. Ideally you want both types as I would want to attempt the overwhelming of the defences with Spear 3 and kill strike with the heavier missile once the target is degraded.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

There is a further thought to ensuring you use a saturation attack on ships and that is logistics!
A Western Frigate for example will probably carry no more than 32 SAMs, if you throw something like Spear3 at it, this will soak up that small stock. Imagine repeated attacks using cheap throw away missiles. Will that ship be working alone or part of a task group? If so how quickly can it get its stock replenished before its completely vulnerable to a proper ship killer?

Stuart Willard
Guest

Spot on. Both options are needed in real life conflicts. Idealised computer simulations don’t hold up in war unless you achieve everything you need to in some form of pre-emptive strike.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

It is (sigh). Joint program with France blah blah blah

Peter
Guest
Peter

SPEAR cap 4 is the large air launched AShM. Intended to replace Exocet, Harpoon and Storm Shadow.

The project is just getting going with MBA developing their Perseus concept for the UK and France. It’s the next one after SPEAR3 in the work flow so won’t be in service until around 2030 unless they chuck more money at it. I guess you could fudge a naval seeker onto the existing Storm Shadow if we get desparate. Or buy NSM or LRASM off the shelf as a stopgap.

SPEAR5 is the Tomahawk and MdeCN replacement. That comes later still.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Talk about the new missile being based on Perseus is purely internet chatter i.e. mostly nonsense.

Perseus was a CG video showing off a few new MBDA ideas. Nothing lay behind it in terms of real development. It was a marketing exercise created for a Paris air show.

P.S. equipping Storm Shadow with a naval seeker would neither be quick or cheap and would be pointless given that F-35 will be unable to carry them. The only stop-gap, off the shelf solution for the UK would be the Norwegian NSM.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Off the shelf already there would be the sensible option.

mpan
Guest
mpan

a capable sounding weapon that might fill the gap wrt the RN’s Sea Skua and the RAF’s ALARM requirement.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Good. The whole SPEAR programme is vital.

Again the costs are eye watering though.

What actually happens to integrate a missile onto a plane to cost £400 million? Obviously not just hanging it on a pylon underneath and seeing how it, and the aircraft, perform. Are we talking software code here?

The figures always seem so high, almost enough for a couple of T31’s. Sorry for this naive sounding post this is one area I really do not have any knowledge on.

Evan P
Guest
Evan P

I think that most of that cost goes to making sure that rather than the missile working nearly all of the time, it works without fail. I’ve got no idea what goes into creating that kind of assurance, but I bet it is difficult and, therefore, expensive.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Integrating costs are indeed eye watering. If anyone would come up with a solution, governments and manufacturers would pave the path to their home in gold.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Two way data links seem to becoming a norm: Meteor, Sea Venom, next release of Asraam…

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

People are getting rather hung up on the anti ship side of things, this weapon and F-35B represents a fundamental shift in thinking over how we operate. Rather than operating multiple types of aircraft that are role specific capable of carrying multiple weapons that are mission specific we are moving towards a single type that is highly situational aware and carry’s a small range of weapons that can be pressed into multiple tasks. Rather than a commander saying “have I got the right aircraft in the area carrying the correct munition for the task?” they can direct what they have… Read more »

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Excellent point!

farouk
Guest
farouk

I think that when the article states Naval vessels, they are pointing at small gun boat type vessels in us by countries such as Iran. which have a habit of playing silly buggers with naval warships as they transit the straits of Hormuz . Along the lines of a future Sea Skua which with an 80 mile range has the legs to allow the delivery aircraft to remain out of harms way. Funny enough the Sea Venom which will be replacing the Sea Skua has a reported range of only 12 kms, the missile it is replacing had a range… Read more »

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

The MBDA brochure says Sea Venom has a ‘safe stand off’ range in the ‘over 20km class’ and an over the horizon capability.
http://www.mbda-systems.com/?action=force-download-attachment&attachment_id=14288
Safe to assume at least 25km I would say.

farouk
Guest
farouk

Certainly hope so.

Stuart Willard
Guest

Indeed whatever it was it wouldn’t be a replacement for a missile with twice the range. Certainly unless the delivery platform had an unpenetrable cloaking device invisible to even eyeballs.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

A small Iranian-type gun boat does not require the attacker to be over 80 miles away.

And Paul is correct, Sea Venom is “over the horizon” which implies >30km range. But once again, against “Iranian gun bats” that’s hardly necessary.

Daniel Powell
Guest
Daniel Powell

It is great weapon, mini cruise missile “slow brimstone ii” but my question mark on it because same range as “fast brimstone ii” also for around similarly cost? Is both different sizes (kg) or type in warhead? If not what a point have both when brimstone ii since brimstone ii is “spear 2”, brimstone ii is better chance passed csw defence that spear 3 due speed. Would love see brimstone nlos Version to replace spike nlos. spear 3 is it have sea skimming (naval) and pop up (land) attack capacity? So that is very useful options which worth to buy… Read more »

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

This article says the MOD wants the missile to have a range of at least 100km i.e. 60 miles

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Maybe the article answered why Spear 3 is important but I must have missed it.

The answer is that Brimstone has shown to be an extremely effective weapon in the current anti-terrorist wars. However against an an enemy with a robust anti-air capability, Brimstone puts its launch aircraft too close to the target. Spear 3 fixes this problem by providing a much greater stand off range.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Sorry my ipad battery died mid post
http://www.deagel.com/Offensive-Weapons/Spear-3_a001110004.aspx
This article mentions 60 mile range.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

UK official statements on range are not to be trusted. Storm Shadow range has always been severely understated.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Understood, for obvious reasons.

Daniel Powell
Guest
Daniel Powell

Brimstone ii and spear 3 are same range as I been point it on last post.

Which 60 mils accord to mbda website and wiki

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Are you sure about that? I can’t find any range info for Brimstone on the MBDA web sites.
Wiki has dual mode Brimstone II range at 60km rather than 60 miles.

Mr J Bell
Guest
Mr J Bell

If the range is 60 miles that should be enough for F35B to approach safely to launch range get the missiles away and turn away from any return fire before the F35B is detected. It’s stealth is pretty good. I doubt even the Russian area denial SAMs can detect F35B until they are 20-30 miles away. S400/S500. If spear 3 has an anti radar seeker head that will make it deadly against SAM sites

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

I think the Spear 3 will be a great asset to our F35b’s in future and hope they make it VLS compatible as well.

However I think Brimstone Sea Spear would be an excellent addition to the River Class OPVs and first five Type 31e’s as they will be relatively inexpensive, able to serve as a deterrent, can be used as a saturation attack on larger vessels and defend from swarming attacks from manned and unmanned vessels as well documented in the Middle East.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

I agree but cost would probably rule it out unfortunately.

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

I wonder whether a Tomahawk could be configured as a host for a number of Spear 3s. If possible, it would provide our Type 26 frigates with the ability to saturate land or naval targets at very long range. The

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I think there is an anti-ship seeker for Tomahawk now so it would be an option for Type 26 or any ship with Mk41 strike length VLS. Pricey though I think.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Also, how effective would it be? Relatively slow, not stealthy and unless something has changed not particularly good at evasive manoeuvres. OK for taking out unescorted tankers and other supply ships but any large vessel with a half decent missile defence system would surely knock it down many km from the target wouldn’t it?

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I think of it as a theoretical option or marketing ploy probably. Given that RN doctrine is averse to any of the fire and forget anti-ship missiles I don’t see it happening. NSM works as a shore battery for Norway and Poland because you can assume any ship headed towards you is probably an enemy vessel. It would work well in open water if you had good target identification, but then so would Harpoon 1C; though being older technology I suspect it would be easier to decoy and/or destroy. Sea Venom and Wildcat make an excellent system. Sea Spray radar… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

With each of a queen Elizabeths class f35B sorties able to carry 8 of these in internal bays that’s a lot of rounds with which to do a lot of things. As for ooohhh but for a heavy weight ASM lovefest that goes on sometimes, it’s worth remeb ring almost all present Heavy ASM’s are so dumb as to be unfirable unless you are in eyeball range or in some clancyesk WW3 “don’t need to worry about lots of innocent bystander random ships floating around the the sea lanes” world. So a clever small “not likely to sink a cruiseliner… Read more »

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

We should consider how this weapon might be used in the worst case scenario. That is full-blown conflict with Russia. The last time I checked, the nastiest surface target we might encounter is an upgraded Kirov-class battlecruiser equipped with 192 SAMs including some that are an S-400 equivalent. Four F-35Bs ought to be able to close within 65 miles to launch 32 Spear 3s. I would have thought such an attack would overwhelm the ship’s anti-aircraft capabilities and cripple her sufficiently that she would turn for home. The issue is that the F-35s are not very stealthy from the rear… Read more »

Rickf
Guest
Rickf

Hitting the attack radars of and enemy ship would also allow 4th generation jets (land based in the case of European navies) to pop up from low altitude and attack with larger, external weapons. The F-35 would be a force multiplier. The U.S. Marines are already training with this tactic using a pure F-35 force (all they have access to on an amphibious carrier). A few F-35B’s take out the defenses in full stealth mode, the other F-35B’s with under-wing weapons pop up from low altitude and hammer the target with the heavy stuff. The imaging infrared sent back to… Read more »