Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gripen Fires Production Version Of Meteor Missile For The First Time

Sweden's Saab Gripen is the first fighter aircraft to fire the production version of the Meteor air-to-air missile. Alls previous firings of the Meteor missile involved test rounds or other pre-production versions.

The Meteor missile is on track to enter service with Swedish Gripen C/D fighters in 2014. It will also be integrated with the new Gripen E / NG fighters that have recently been ordered.

Besides Sweden, the Meteor will also enter service in France with its Rafale aircraft of the Air Force and Navy. Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain will also use the Meteor missile on their Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The Meteor is also being marketed to other countries such as India, which is currently negotiating the purchase of 126 Rafale aircraft. However, no contract has been signed so far.

In 2012, India ordered the MICA medium-range air-to-air missile for the 51 Mirage 2000H aircraft that are to be upgraded to a version of the Mirage 2000-9 standard as part of a 2011 contract.

The Meteor from MBDA is a long-range, all-weather, Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile guided by an active radar seeker. Its specifications are:
  • Length: 3.65 m
  • Diameter: 0.18 m
  • Weight: 185 kg
  • Speed: Mach 4+
  • Range: In excess of 100 km
The Meteor's most distinctive characteristic is its solid fuel variable flow ducted ramjet propulsion, which provides the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile currently available.

The Meteor missile also supports a two-way datalink, although only the Gripen and Eurofighter are compatible with it. The Rafale only supports a one-way datalink with the Meteor.

While the Meteor is the first of its type to enter service, other countries are developing similar ramjet missiles. Both Russia and China are working on their own versions.

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