MBDA Meteor

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Missile The MBDA Meteor is a highly agile medium-range air-to-air guided missile for future complex beyond-visual-range (BVR) threat scenarios.

Meteor started out as UK MoD Staff Requirement 1239, for a Beyond Visual Range Air-To-Air Missile (BVRAAM) system, to replace the Raytheon AMRAAM missile for the RAF. It will equip the Eurofighter/Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen and can be fitted to any other advanced fighter aircraft.



Within its detection range, the radar-seeker takes on autonomous target control in all weather conditions and also in severe electronic warfare environments. Meteorís throttleable airbreathing solid-propellant ramjet system ensures a range of more than 100 km at speeds of up to Mach 4.

As well as MBDA, contractors include EADS/CASA, Saab Bofors Dynamics AB and EADS/LFK.


In 1999, British Prime Minister Tony Blair came under pressure from US President Bill Clinton to choose an American missile to be the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon's long range air-air missile. Raytheon offered both the Future Medium Range Air-Air Missile (FMRAAM)—a ramjet powered AMRAAM—and the Extended Range Air-Air Missile (EMRAAM), a more modest upgrade. As the Meteor is said to be the most expensive option it may have seemed obvious that the AMRAAM would win the competition. However the politics of the decision were a huge factor—would Britain wish to risk its close ties to the US defence industry, or turn its back on its European partners?

In May 2000 Britain announced that the Matra BAe Dynamics Meteor missile system would be the UK's next long-range missile. In a contract worth £1.5 billion, 4,600 UK jobs will be created or guaranteed. One major benefit of having a European missile for a European aircraft (the Typhoon) is that exports will not be subject to American controls—as they would have been if the Raytheon AMRAAM was chosen. Every export sale would have had to have been approved by the Congress of the United States, allowing the scenario where the Eurofighter would be marketed as a plane without an effective next-generation missile.

The Meteor selection was not a total loss for U.S. industry, Boeing are part of the team providing aircraft integration and manufacturing technology.

The Meteor is a high-risk project compared to the improved AMRAAM offered, but this is due to the high technology of the project, compared to the low risk development of the proven AMRAAM missile. The commitment to Meteor by the European air forces gives European industry (MBDA) a clear advantage over its American competitors, as America has not committed itself to a similar long-range ramjet missile. This is partly due to the fact that USAF tactics will involve the deployment of the stealthy F-22, which is supposed to get within AMRAAM range undetected (the Meteor being too large for internal carriage in the F-22 or JSF anyway.) However the US Navy may require a Meteor class weapon as they will continue to rely on the conventional F/A-18.

See also

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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