The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) announced during a ceremony today that MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile has now officially entered service on its Gripen combat aircraft. The announcement was made by Major General Mats Helgesson, Chief-of-Staff of the SwAF, in the presence of the CEO of Saab AB, Håkan Buskhe and the CEO of MBDA, Antoine Bouvier.
Major General Helgesson, said, “After extensive testing by FMV and the Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation unit, all of the new MS20 functions including the Meteor missile are now fully integrated with Gripen. The Swedish Air Force is now in its Initial Operational Capability phase with the Meteor. The Meteor missile is currently the most lethal radar-guided missile in operational service, and the Swedish Air Force is the only operational user so far. I am very proud and satisfied to have the Meteor in the inventory of my air force.”
Antoine Bouvier, MBDA CEO in responding to the announcement said: “Today is a very special day for the Swedish Air Force, for Saab and Gripen, for Meteor, for MBDA and particularly for multi-national industrial cooperation in defense. Meteor is a missile that no nation could have developed or produced alone. Sweden and the five other Partner Nations in the program - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - can be both proud and confident that they have a missile that ensures unquestionable air superiority for their pilots in the defense of their respective countries’ sovereign interests.”
“Along with that, and thanks to their involvement in the program, they also have the freedom and independence to deploy and develop this unique missile capability as they see fit and as their requirements evolve. MBDA looks forward to continuing its extremely close cooperation with Sweden and Swedish industry in developing world-class military capabilities in support of the sovereignty and freedom of action of both Sweden and other cooperating nations,” Bouvier added.
At the end of April 2016, the FMV (Sweden’s Defense Materiel Administration) introduced the latest MS20 software load to the SwAF’s Gripen fleet thus enabling the JAS 39C/D to become the first aircraft capable of operating the ramjet-powered Meteor missile.
Meteor is a next generation, Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) system that will revolutionize air-to-air combat in the 21st Century. The weapon’s development has brought together six nations with a common need to defeat the threats of today as well as those of the foreseeable future. Initially developed for Europe’s new generation of combat aircraft: Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale, Meteor is also being integrated on the F-35 Lightning II.
Meteor’s stunning performance is achieved through its unique ramjet propulsion system - solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket. This throttleable ramjet motor ensures that the missile has maximum thrust when it is most required, namely at the end game leading up to target intercept. As a result, Meteor features the largest No-Escape Zone of any other current or planned air-to-air missile system. Guided by an advanced active radar seeker, Meteor provides all weather capability to engage a wide variety of targets from agile fast jets to small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and cruise missiles. It is designed to meet the most stringent of requirements and is capable of operating in the most severe of clutter and countermeasure environments.
With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2015 MBDA achieved a turnover of 2.9 billion euros with an order book of 15.1 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems.
MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). In total, the group offers a range of 45 missile systems and countermeasures products already in operational service and more than 15 others currently in development.
MBDA is jointly held by AIRBUS Group (37.5%), BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%), and Leonardo - Finmeccanica (25%).