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 missile is guided by an advanced active radar seeker and is also equipped with two way data link communication, enabling the launch aircraft to provide mid-course target updates or retargeting if required, including data from third parties.
According to Saab:
“An active radar target seeker combined with an RF proximity fuze, both of which are highly resistant to both active and passive countermeasures, ensures reliable detection, tracking and discrimination of the target.”
Meteor, say MBDA, offers a multi-shot capability against long range manoeuvring targets, jets, UAVs and cruise missiles in a heavy electronic countermeasures environment with range well in excess of 150 kilometres, MBDA also say that the no-escape zone of over 60 km is largest among air-to-air missiles.
A two way data-link and an active radar target seeker ensures that Meteor reaches its target, even at very long ranges. A jamming resistant proximity fuze and a lethal high explosive blast-fragmentation warhead combine to give the missile its high kill probability.
The missile is often lauded for its outstanding kinematic performance and according to MBDA, Meteor’s performance is achieved through its unique ramjet propulsion system – solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket.
“This ‘ramjet’ motor provides the missile with thrust all the way to target intercept, providing the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile. To ensure total target destruction, the missile is equipped with both impact and proximity fuses and a fragmentation warhead that detonates on impact or at the optimum point of intercept to maximise lethality.”
According to MBDA, Meteor has three to six times the kinetic performance of current air-air missiles of its type.