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 (<180km), mini-cruise missile (<100kg) designed for internal carriage by the F-35.
MBDA is jointly owned by BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and FINMECCANICA (25%).
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
SPEAR Cap 3 has been conceived with the specific characteristics and internal weapon carriage constraints of the F-35B, four missiles can be accommodated on a dedicated launcher in each of the F-35B’s two internal weapon bays.
Mid-course guidance will be via GPS/inertial navigation with a two-way datalink enabling mid-course updates, re-targeting and mission abort functions.
The UK is looking to integrate the Meteor BVR air-to-air missile and the SPEAR Cap 3 stand-off precision guided weapon as part of Block 4 software integration on the F-35. The system could well become missile of choice for anti-surface missions flown pilots launched from the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.