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PARIS: MBDA on target for Meteor introduction

With MBDA’s Meteor missile on target for service introduction next year, the company is looking to also score its first hit on the export stage.

Highlighting the beyond visual-range air-to-air missile’s credentials at the show, MBDA UK military advisor Russ Martin says the European weapon is reaching the market at just the right moment.

“We have customers crying out to replace their current-generation weapons, and we have a product that meets their need,” he says. “It’s easy to come to an air show and see models on a stand, but Meteor is here now.”

Integration testing on the Saab Gripen C/D has been completed and continues for the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, and the ramjet-powered missile is now in full-rate production. The Swedish air force will be the first to introduce the design, as part of its MS20 update for the Gripen next year, followed by France and the UK in 2018.

Developed under a UK-led programme, Meteor is on order to equip the fighter fleets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. It also is being promoted as part of export campaigns involving the Rafale, Typhoon and Gripen.

Meanwhile, a decision is anticipated by the end of this year about the Meteor’s integration with the Lockheed Martin F-35 as part of the US programme’s Block 4 software package. The UK wants the weapon to arm its B-model short-take off and vertical landing examples, and Martin says MBDA is also “actively working to make sure we will be on the F-35A”.

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