Typhoon jets launched from RAF Lossiemouth yesterday with the Meteor Air-to-Air missiles for the first time during a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission.
The Meteor was initially developed by the UK, though Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Sweden joined the project shortly at a later stage. The missiles are designed for use aboard the Eurofighter Typhoon and mature versions of the Swedish Gripen. It is an active radar guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) developed by MBDA.
Meteor offers a multi-shot capability against long range manoeuvring targets in a heavy electronic countermeasures environment with range well in excess of 100 kilometres (62 miles).
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances. The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our Armed Forces.
The RAF’s prized Typhoon Force is unquestionably now the cornerstone of British and NATO military power. It has proved itself in combat roles over Libya, Iraq and Syria, protecting UK skies and overseas territories, and providing critical support to our NATO Allies in Eastern Europe.”
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:
“RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters are now armed with the most advanced Air to Air missile in the world, the MBDA developed ramjet powered Meteor. Another huge leap forward in capability for the Typhoon Force, which is proud to continue defending the UK and our allies, 24/7.”
The pilot flying the first Meteor equipped Typhoon said in a news release:
“The responsibility of flying such a capable platform, armed with this formidable weapon is immense, but the options this gives us in responding to an emergency situation cannot be understated.”