“The Meteor missile changes the balance of forces in the air. With Meteor, the Swedish Air Force will be able to push away opponents because they won’t dare approach,” says Michael Östergren, Project Manager of the JAS Gripen update.
Meteor is a missile with a completely new technology that allows it to reach targets at long distances. By interacting with various sensors on the JAS 39 Gripen, the missile can be fired long before enemy planes can fire their own missiles.
“Gripen can fire their weapons long before the opponent can. This means that you can push opponents away because they do not dare to approach,” said Michael Östergren, project manager for Gripen C/D version 20, which includes Meteor.
Being able to reach the enemy with the weapon before he can do it gives a first-shot capability and allows, in particular, to push back enemy aircraft, for example to prevent attacks against Sweden.
Its ability is created by a new type of propulsion. Instead of using a conventional propellant rocket, it is powered by a ramjet engine. Therefore, it can regulate its power and save fuel while flying to its target.
“When the opponent understands that there’s a missile on the way, he will try to turn and dodge it. The missile must have enough fuel to cope with these maneuvers. Meteor know that it must have fuel at the end to increase to maximum speed and incapacitate the target,” said Michael Östergren.
Meteor also has a new radar homing head with new algorithms to assess when to lower speed and when to accelerate in order to reach the target. Meteor is loaded by two people, just like any other weapon system on the Gripen.
Gripen was the test platform for Meteor
Since FMV has helped finance and develop the Meteor, Sweden has been able to influence the design.
“We have influenced the design so that it will be a good weapon for Gripen, and will optimally complement the missile system we have today,” says Michael Östergren.
Among the countries that helped develop the Meteor, Gripen was the aircraft platform best suited for the development trials.
“It was the platform that have made most progress in development that could integrate the system quickly and easily. The project had a tight schedule, and did not allow time for the integration of missiles. Sweden could offer the Gripen with rapid integration that supported the Meteor development plan. We could offer something that the other participating countries could not not,’ says Michael Östergren.
Since the Gripen has been the test platform for the development of the missile, we have learned a lot of integration.
“There is a decision for the pilots who are well developed and proven by all the sample shots that Saab has done. Using Meteor provides an advantage over other platforms,” says Michael Östergren.
FACTS: Meteor Integration
During the development of the Meteor conducted a so-called development of integration on Gripen. Its simplified integration process made it possible to perform the tests.
Thereafter, the work is continuing for the full integration of the Meteor system. The missile must be able to communicate and cooperate with the radar, computer systems and the rest of the aircraft. For the pilot, there must be decision where he can assess when it is appropriate to fire the weapon.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Meteor is now flying operational missions on the Swedish Air Force’s Gripen C/D fighters, Air Force Commander Gen. Mats Helgesson told reporters in Stockholm May 17, but has not yet been used for Quick Reaction Alert missions.)