HALLBERGMOOS, Germany --- A UK Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft has successfully fired a SPEAR air-to-surface precision strike weapon for the first time in a flight trial conducted from BAE Systems’ site in Warton, Lancashire.
The MBDA SPEAR networked precision strike weapon was launched from Eurofighter Typhoon Production Aircraft BS116 earlier this year. The test flight was led by teams from MBDA and BAE Systems, with BAE Systems Chief Test Pilot Steve Formoso at the controls.
Following the launch, which took place at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Aberporth range, in Wales, the weapon transitioned to powered flight and completed a series of manoeuvres before reaching its pre-planned point of impact.
The Typhoon aircraft, which is subject to a continual programme of capability upgrades, has been designated as the test aircraft for trials and development of the weapon.
Paul Stone, Typhoon Product Development and Future Capability Manager for BAE Systems, said: “The success of this trial demonstrates the inherent flexibility of the Typhoon aircraft as a platform in supporting such a crucial phase of testing on this next generation missile - and further cements the strong relationship between BAE Systems, MBDA and the UK customer.
“The weapon operated exactly as expected during the trial and we are delighted to have supported such important step in further development of SPEAR using Typhoon.”
The SPEAR missile is being developed to meet the UK’s Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 3 (SPEAR Cap 3) requirement for the UK’s F-35 Lightning II aircraft, with the potential to equip Typhoon. SPEAR will precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, whilst ensuring a safe stand-off range between the aircrew and threat air defences.
Paul Wester, SPEAR Programme Director for MBDA, said:
“The first release and successful flight of SPEAR from Typhoon is a real demonstration of the close working relationship between the MoD, BAE Systems, Qinetiq and MBDA. We can anticipate that SPEAR will deliver significant operational advantage to users, and a real and tangible capability advantage to any platform deploying this new precision strike weapon.”
The test firing from the Typhoon was the culmination of trials work undertaken by MBDA to prove the weapon is ready to move to the next stage of development work, which will now continue through to 2020. SPEAR is one of a number of smart weapons which may be integrated on to the Typhoon aircraft to meet future operational requirements, including anti-ship missiles such as Marte-ER.
Fitted with the latest generation multi-sensor seeker designed to operate in all combat conditions, SPEAR will be able to engage a wide range of target types both on land and sea. Eurofighter Typhoon is designated to act as a trials platform for missile development. The integration of SPEAR on to Typhoon for trials enhances its potential as an additional future operational platform for the weapon.
Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft currently available on the world market. Eight customers (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait) have already ordered the Eurofighter Typhoon.
With 599 aircraft ordered, Eurofighter Typhoon is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe. Its high technology strengthens the position of European aerospace industry in the international market. The programme secures more than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies, Airbus Defence and Space, BAE Systems and Leonardo-Finmeccanica, which are the most important aviation and aerospace companies in Europe.