May 19, 2016 - 09:00 ( Brasília )

Weapons

MBDA’S spear missile secures UK development contract


The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed a contract worth over £400M with MBDA for the Weapon Development Phase of the SPEAR air to surface, precision strike missile. This contract will further advance MBDA’s SPEAR weapon design and builds on a successful series of technical milestones during the preceding Assessment Phase.

The contract will run through to completion during 2020 and will employ 350 highly skilled missile engineering jobs across MBDA’s sites in Stevenage, Bristol and Lostock, with an equivalent number of jobs in the wider supply chain.

The SPEAR missile is being developed to meet the UK’s Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 3 (SPEAR 3) requirement for the UK’s F-35 aircraft, with the option to equip the Typhoon aircraft. 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.

Welcoming the contract, MBDA’s Executive Group Technical Director and UK Managing Director Dave Armstrong said, “Delivering the solution for the UK’s SPEAR 3 requirement is an important programme for MBDA, and for the future operators of the F-35 in both the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm. The contract confirms SPEAR as the only weapon to meet the UK’s operational requirements. It delivers a UK sovereign capability on the F-35 that will bring the kind of precision against moving targets previously seen with Brimstone, but at stand-off ranges that give the aircrew numerous advantages in terms of operational flexibility and survivability.” MBDA’s CEO Antoine Bouvier added “MBDA’s selection to provide SPEAR confirms the company’s position as the European leader in complex weapons and importantly positions MBDA in the international arena for the next decade with this unique precision strike capability.”

Powered by a turbojet engine, SPEAR has significant reach to ensure that the launch aircraft remains safely away from hostile air defence units. SPEAR is equipped with the latest generation multi-effects warhead, designed to meet the demands of the future combat mission.

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. The weapon is being designed for operation on the F-35, and the Eurofighter Typhoon is designated to act as a trials platform for missile development. The integration of SPEAR onto Typhoon for trials enables its potential as an additional future operational platform for the weapon. The F-35 with SPEAR will be flown by both the UK’s Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force.

Other MBDA weapons intended for the UK’s F-35 include the ASRAAM Within Visual Range Air to Air Missile that is currently undergoing integration trials in the US and the Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile.