Bolton, UK. 16 Augut 2016. The United Kingdom’s (UK) Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded MBDA a £184M production contract for the supply of the highly capable infra-red (IR) guided air-to-air missile, ASRAAM, to equip the UK’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet.
ASRAAM will be the first British designed missile to enter service on the F-35. ASRAAM’s large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design gives it high kinematic capability to deliver superior end-game performance compared with other countries’ in-service IR missiles.
MBDA is currently under contract for an ASRAAM capability sustainment programme for the Typhoon fast jet and this new order to equip the F-35 will see the production of additional missiles. Value for money is ensured through the re-use of components from other MBDA products such as the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), whilst also ensuring the benefits of a single IR missile across the fast jet fleet is retained.
The missiles will be produced at MBDA’s new £40M Bolton manufacturing and assembly site with engineering activities carried out at MBDA sites in Stevenage and Bristol. The overall ASRAAM programme, combined with associated workload around domestic and export programmes using the core CAMM system, is employing 400 skilled employees across the MBDA sites and the UK complex weapons supply chain. Collectively these orders also ensure that ASRAAM remains available for overseas customers and future exports.
ASRAAM is the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) in service with the RAF on the Tornado and Typhoon and, in time, the F-35B serving both the Fleet Air Arm and the RAF. Overseas users include the Royal Australian Air Force on the F/A-18 Hornet and it is on order for the Indian Air Force’s Jaguars.
The missile will be carried on the external pylons of the F-35B whilst design and space provision is preserved for internal integration fit within the internal weapons bay and thus remains an option for the future. The missile has both lock-on-before launch and a lock-on-after launch mode to carry out engagements on targets that are outside the missile’s field of view at launch.
The missile flies at over Mach 3 and its sleek, agile airframe, powerful motor, sophisticated seeker and software are designed to defeat current and future countermeasures, ensure that the missile can fly faster and further than competing short range air-to-air missiles. www.mbda-systems.com
The Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) is the new missile for the Royal Navy and British Army for their surface launch air defence needs.