MBDA has been granted extra funding by the UK Ministry of Defence to speed up the development of the SPEAR-EW stand-in jammer system.
SPEAR-EW is a novel electronic warfare effector designed to confuse and suppress enemy air defence, protecting friendly forces and acting as a significant force multiplier. The extra funding for the Rapid Design Phase will speed up the advancement of SPEAR-EW, improving all of its important components and conducting assessments of its mission and planning capabilities.
Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said: “SPEAR-EW will be a true game-changer for the suppression and defeat of enemy air defences. As we have seen lately, air defence networks are exceptionally hard to operate against with today’s toolkit: SPEAR-EW is the key that will enable allied air forces to unlock this challenge and gain air superiority”.
Dean Pask, Spear Senior Responsible Owner at the MOD, commented on the commitment: “By embracing collaborative partnering, agile methods, and strategic technology, we are steadfastly dedicated to ensuring that our front line commands receive critical capabilities in the most effective and efficient manner possible”.
Leonardo is responsible for developing the electronic warfare payload for the weapon, which uses their Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology. This technology has been proven effective in trials and is now mature, providing advanced sensing and electronic attack capabilities for SPEAR-EW. With the use of SPEAR-EW, operators can jam enemy radar systems and create decoy targets to divert attention from crewed aircraft or effectors, among other subtle electronic warfare effects.
Iain Bancroft, SVP Electronic Warfare at Leonardo UK, said: “SPEAR-EW will incorporate a world-class electronic warfare payload, designed and manufactured here in Luton, UK. Based on our experience providing on-board jamming capabilities for the Eurofighter Typhoon and, more recently, off-board jamming in the form of our BriteCloud expendable active decoy, our technology can reliably beat current threats while remaining adaptable for the threats of the future”.
SPEAR-EW is built using the same airframe as MBDA’s SPEAR miniature cruise missile, which is currently being produced for the Royal Air Force. This shared design has helped cut down on the development expenses for SPEAR-EW. Additionally, it has made it possible to create a joint integration and launcher solution, which will reduce the logistical requirements and allow for a high load-out capacity.