UK defense contractor BAE Systems announced it has started work on the integration of Meteor air-to-air and SPEAR surface attack missiles on to the UK’s fleet of F-35B fighter jets.
As explained by the company, it has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 program, to start integration efforts for the two MBDA-made missiles.
Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on ASRAAM and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering initial operating capability for the UK.
“BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR,” said Tom Fillingham, senior vice-president – US Programs of BAE Systems.
Last year, a pilot from 17 Squadron, the RAF’s F-35 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California took to the skies for the first time with UK weapons, including ASRAAM and Paveway IV.
This followed work carried out during the F-35 program’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) initial testing phase to develop and certify weapons capabilities by an integrated test team. This team includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA, working alongside the UK Air Warfare Centre to clear weapons for operational testing by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots.