The six-nation Meteor air dominance missile was successfully fired again at the FMV missile test range at Vidsel in northern Sweden on 5th September as part of the ongoing Air-Launched Demonstration (ALD) campaign.
The firing, the third in the campaign, follows shortly on from firings conducted on 9th May 2006 and 20th June 2006. As with the first two firings, this third missile firing was rail-launched from a SAAB Aerosystems Gripen combat aircraft flying at an altitude of 23,000ft. The flight profile of the missile was, however, different to the previous two firings in order to gather data about Meteor’s operating capability under these specific conditions.
The data gathered from this firing will be utilised in the further development of the missile. The purpose of the ALD campaign is to demonstrate the maturity of the missile development programme, gather data on the missile’s performance and its characteristics during launch and free flight, and provide an opportunity to identify issues which may affect the missile’s development such that these can then be resolved at an early stage.
This firing marks another success in the ongoing development programme. Other recent successes include the completion of a series of “free jet” wind tunnel tests of Meteor at the ONERA supersonic wind tunnel facility in Modane, France and the first flight of a Seeker Data Gathering (SDG) missile.
Located about 900km north of Stockholm in the Arctic Circle, the Vidsel missile test range forms part of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Testing Directorate. It is the largest overland test range in Western Europe. MBDA is the prime contractor for the Meteor missile programme and has established the Meteor team with SAAB Bofors Dynamics of Sweden and INMIZE of Spain as its partners.
Meteor is being developed to meet the requirements of six European nations for a superior Beyond Visual Range missile system with the operational capability to dominate the air battlespace, excelling in all future combat scenarios and capable of being integrated on Europe’s major platforms, Eurofighter Typhoon, Gripen and Rafale. It also has the potential to add to the air-to-air capability of the next generation combat platform, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Meteor programme sees France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK joining together in order to provide access to guided weapons technology and expertise across Europe. The Meteor contract was signed by the UK Defence Procurement Agency on 23rd December 2002 on behalf of all six nations. This contract covers development of Meteor and provides production options to meet the individual national requirements.
Meteor is a fast and highly manoeuvrable Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air weapon. Guidance is provided by an active radar seeker benefiting from enhanced technologies drawn from the MBDA Aster and Mica missile programmes. The missile is allocated targets from the launch aircraft radar and is capable of engaging air targets autonomously by night or day, in all weather and in severe electronic warfare environments.
With an annual turnover exceeding EUR 3.5 billion, a forward order book of over EUR 14 billion and over 70 customers worldwide, MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company. MBDA currently has 45 missile system and countermeasure programmes in operational service and has proven its ability as prime contractor to head major multi-national projects.
MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%).