UK begins integration of Meteor, SPEAR missiles on F-35 fighter jets

F-35
U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter | Image credit: US Air Force/Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen

BAE Systems announced 18 March that the company had received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and the Precision Surface Attack Missile (SPEAR) 3.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President – US Programmes of BAE Systems, said: “BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR. We are extremely proud of the critical contribution UK engineers are playing for both the UK and the global F-35 fleet through the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft.”

Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said: “This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work.”

BAE said that under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on ASRAAM and with Raytheon on Paveway® IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability for the UK.