Gripen loaded with Meteor Missile takes-off at FMV's Vidsel
Photo: Vidsel Test Range / Anders Åberg
3/20/2008 - Gripen has conducted a further successful live
firing with the MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile, proving once
again its reliability as a platform for the integration and
testing of complex future missile systems for the world’s
new generation combat aircraft. Gripen is the first and so far
only new generation fighter aircraft to launch the Meteor.
Missile systems leader MBDA successfully test-fired its world-beating
Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile on 6 March at
the Vidsel Missile Test Range in Sweden. The firing follows
on from previous successful trials undertaken in the UK and
Sweden and is another significant event in the European six-nation
With between three and six times the kinematic performance
of any current missile of its type, Meteor will provide the
air forces of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the
UK with untouchable air dominance. Matched with high-end aircraft
performance from the three platforms that Meteor will operate
from (Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen), the six air forces will have
a winning combination when the missile enters service.
The firing was carried out from a Saab Gripen aircraft against
a MQM-107B ‘Streaker’ high-subsonic subscale aerial
target. The missile test firing concludes a series of development
firings to prove the overall performance of the missile and
its various subsystems in terms of guidance, propulsion, data
link and fuse.
The missile was rail-launched from the Gripen flying at 0.9
Mach and at an altitude of 18,000ft (5500m). Following the boost
phase, the missile successfully transitioned to its ramjet operation
and accelerated to its operational speed. The seeker then acquired
the target and tracked it through to intercept. During the flight
the missile’s data link successfully demonstrated communication
between the missile and the firing aircraft.
The key to Meteor’s outstanding performance is the rocket
motor. For the first time a solid fuel ramjet is being used
to propel a missile. Already proven in earlier test firings,
the unique solid fuel throttle able ducted rocket gives Meteor
the ability to maintain high speed all the way to the target
aircraft, making evasion virtually pointless.
Dave Armstrong, MBDA’s Meteor Multinational Project Director
said: “We’re obviously delighted that another test
firing has gone so well. This follows on from the great progress
we made last year and concludes the first phase of Meteor’s
development. Now with every parameter of the missile proven,
definition of the pre-production standard of the missile can
now be finalised. During 2008, together with our partners and
suppliers, we’ll be starting the pre-production industrialisation
phase of the programme which will see the partner nations taking
up their production options.
“With this test we have passed an important milestone
for the entire Meteor programme” says Hans Eriksson, Programme
Manager for Meteor at Saab Bofors Dynamics. “In the next
phase we will carry out firing tests with missiles in pre-series
to prepare for production start up”.
Saab’s participation in the Meteor programme is significant.
Saab Bofors Dynamics is a partner to the main contractor, MBDA,
and is responsible for several essential parts of the missile’s
development. Saab Aerosystems is conducting the integration
of the missile on the Gripen new generation fighter and a large
part of the test firings of the Meteor programme. Finally, Saab
Microwave Systems is responsible for the development of the
aircraft radar’s computer link function, which was tested
at this firing.
“This test firing confirms Saab’s excellent ability
in weapons integration and advanced testing in co-operation
with the missile industry and authorities. This time, we also
tested system functions that further demonstrates Gripen’s
ability as a weapon platform” says Börje Hjorth,
Project Manager for Meteor at Saab Aerosystems.
Source: Gripen Press Release