The Royal Air Force has flown its first operational mission with MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile.
The milestone was achieved in late November when an RAF Typhoon fighter was scrambled against an unidentified aircraft approaching the northern UK. The aircraft was subsequently identified without incident.
“This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances,” UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a statement. “The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our Armed Forces.”
RAF Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier added, “RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters are now armed with the most advanced Air to Air missile in the world, the MBDA developed ramjet powered Meteor. Another huge leap forward in capability for the Typhoon Force, which is proud to continue defending the UK and our allies, 24/7.”
The air-breathing Meteor has a reported range of more than 250km against airborne targets, well in excess of the rocket-powered AMRAAM. The missile has also been integrated onto the Saab Gripen and Dassault Rafale, and is being integrated onto the UK’s F-35B.
“Once you have the ramjet going, you are powering all the way to the target,” MBDA Australia managing director Andy Watson recently told ADBR. “Meteor has over three times the no-escape zone compared to current BVRAAMs. We are not talking about a 10 per cent difference here – it is a significant game changing capability at range.”