Saab and the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) have concluded missile integration firings with Saab JAS 39 Gripen and the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM (Beyond Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile), Saab reports on Monday 7 July 2014. The latest tests further verified missile integration with Gripen and validated seeker performance and missile range. This was the last major trials task required to clear the new missile for operational service on the Gripen C/D multi-role fighter.
Full Meteor capability will be delivered as part of Gripen’s latest MS20 (Materiel System 20) combat systems update for the Swedish Air Force. Once MS20 has been cleared for service Sweden, and Gripen, will have the world’s first and only functional Meteor BVRAAM capability.
In March 2014 Gripen conducted two airborne launches with MBDA’s ramjet-powered, Meteor very long-range air-to-air missile. The shots were carried out over FMV’s Vidsel Test Range in northern Sweden. Saab performed the trials in cooperation with FMV, along with the Meteor supplier team which includes the missile prime contractor MBDA.
Two Meteors were fired at remotely-controlled targets. The trials parameters included firings at both low and high altitude and at speed while the launch aircraft was manoeuvring, as well as demonstrating a long engagement range, engagement of manoeuvring targets, aircraft/missile datalink functionality and missile seeker performance.
The tests demonstrated missile datalink functions and safe separation from the aircraft. Saab’s previous successful Meteor trials in Sweden had already provided software verification. The most recent trials completed the full integration programme for Gripen C/D and MS20 and added significant additional data to Saab’s experience in using the missile with an operational combat aircraft.
Sweden is working with France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK to develop and field the Meteor BVRAAM, with MBDA acting as the programme’s prime contractor. The Meteor is a highly advanced, long-range and agile air-to-air weapon that is designed to counter sophisticated airborne threats.
Full Meteor integration will be delivered to the Swedish Air Force as part of the MS20 systems update. When MS20 enters service in 2015 Gripen will be the first platform with an operationally effective Meteor capability. At that point Meteor capability also becomes available for other Gripen users. Sweden has signed a contract for delivery of serially-produced Meteor missiles in addition to the integration missiles that were used during trials.