Plans to field the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) on the F-35 have advanced, with the award of a contract paving the way for integration of the weapon on the stealth fighter.
Today’s contract was placed by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) with European missile house MBDA, manufacturer of the Meteor.
The contract is intended to help de-risk the integration effort for the BVRAAM on the fifth-generation fighter. It includes test assets, productionisation and engineering work needed to support Meteor’s compatibility and use from the F-35.
The Meteor is intended to arm UK’s F-35 Lightning II force beginning in the 2020s.
According to a press release from MBDA: “The test assets being contracted today encompass the usual suite of test missiles required for an aircraft integration programme. Contract scope also includes the role change kits for the UK’s common Meteor stockpile for both Typhoon and Lightning.”
Earlier this year successful firing trials of the MBDA Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) were undertaken from an F-35B. The ASRAAM is being integrated onto the F-35 as part of the aircraft’s Block 3 SDD programme.
Another MBDA product, the SPEAR precision surface attack missile is also intended for future integration on the F-35.