Eurofighter Nations Delay Meteor Missile until 2015
The four partner nations in Eurofighter have agreed to delay until 2015 the introduction of the Meteor, the advanced rocket-ramjet beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed by MBDA. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is managing the development of Meteor, and is the only country to have committed to production so far. However, the MoD told the UK National Audit Office that it was falling into line with Germany, Italy and Spain. After reviewing the “likely environment” (meaning the threat), the MoD said that the Raytheon AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles currently carried by the Typhoon would “provide sufficient capability out to 2015.” The Meteor was scheduled to enter UK service in August 2012, after an eight-year development period. That date has been redefined as the “platform-ready In-service date,” but subsequent integration onto the Typhoon will take three more years. France and Sweden are also partners in the project, intending to buy Meteors for the Rafale and Gripen, respectively. An informed source suggested to AIN that the timetable of those two countries for integrating the new missile would be driven by the export prospects of the two fighters. The initial airborne test-firings of the Meteor took place on the Gripen, after negotiations to use a Typhoon failed. The next round of test-firings will be from a British Tornado F.3 fighter this year. AIN described the Meteor and its development in detail at the Farnborough airshow last year.