Meteor in Service
A Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile, the Meteor's key feature is a throttleable ducted rocket (or ramjet). This allows the missile to cruise on the way to the target and in the terminal phase go to maximum velocity for the kill. It also gives the weapon considerable range and an expanded no escape zone, several times larger than a C7 variant AMRAAM. Additionally, the Meteor is capable of engaging cruise missiles and drones. Compared with other Western missiles the Meteor clearly comes out on top. Although, the D variant of the AMRAAM comes close. Launch platforms include the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, JAS 39 Gripen, with plans for the UK's F-35B (JSF). Integration on the F-35B will require the Block 4 upgrade scheduled for the 2020s. British F-35s will carry the Meteor from 2024 as their principal long range air-to-air weapon. Developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA (Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia) to meet the requirements of the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden, the Meteor entered service in 2016 with the Swedish Air Force.
Estimates vary by source.
|Type||BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile)|
|Cost||$2.1 million 1|
|Propulsion||Solid Fuel Throttleable Ducted Rocket (Ramjet)|
|Guidance||Inertial Mid-course with Datalinked Updates, Active Radar|
|Fuzing||RF Proximity / Impact|
|Weight||419 lb (190 kg)|
|Length||11.98 ft (3.65 m) 2; 12.14 ft (3.7 m) 3|
|Diameter||7 in (178 mm)|
|Range||155-186 mi (250-300 km) 4; well in excess of 62 mi (100 km) 5|
|Speed||Mach 4+ (3,069+ mph / 4782+ kph)|
|1||In 2013 the Luftwaffe said they would acquire 150 missiles for $323 million, plus another $175 million for integration.|
|2||According to contractor SAAB|
|3||According to the manufacturer: MBDA|
|4||According to Full Afterburner's Top 10 BVR Missiles with ballistic flight path|
|5||According to the manufacturer: MBDA|
Japan and the UK are working together on a Meteor derived missile that will incorporate a Japanese gallium-nitride AESA (Active, Electronically Scanned Array) seeker. This new weapon will fit internally on the F-35A's Japan is acquiring unlike the current AAM-4B air-to-air missile. A prototype is being built at MBDA and flight tests for the Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) will happen in 2023. Finally, production should began in the late 2020s.
The Meteor entered service in 2016 with Sweden on the JAS 39 Gripen, achieving initial operating capability on July 11th. On December 10, 2018, Royal Air Force Typhoons flew their first active mission with Meteor missiles, a QRA - Quick Reaction Alert scramble from RAF Lossiemouth (located in Moray, north-east Scotland).
A French Navy (Marine Nationale) Rafale M fighter fired a Meteor air-to-air missile for the first time on February 13, 2019. On the same day a French Air Force Rafale successfully launched a Meteor.
|Deagel Guide to Military Equipment and Civil Aviation|
|Defense & Security Analysis|
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