Meteor and SPEAR 3 missiles

By the top of this decade, the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet is about to be geared up with two new formidable weapons. Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with allied militaries, is integrating the Meteor air-to-air missile and the SPEAR 3 air-launched cruise missile into the F-35’s arsenal.

Picture credit score: UK MoD

The lethal duo

Within the not-so-distant future, F-35 pilots shall be geared up with Meteor and SPEAR munitions as a part of their arsenal. In line with a assertion made by James Cartlidge, Minister of State for Protection, in response to a pertinent question, “The present arsenal of the U.Ok. Lightning Pressure consists of the Superior Medium-Vary Air-to-Air Missile [AMRAAM], the Superior Quick-Vary Air-to-Air Missile [ASRAAM], and the Paveway IV precision-guided bomb. Nevertheless, each the Meteor and SPEAR 3 are anticipated to be a part of the U.Ok. F-35s by the top of this decade.” 

Meteor air-to-air missiles and NH90 helos for the Qatari Air Force
Picture credit score: Defence Weblog

An innovation of MBDA, the Meteor is a high-tech, beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. Weighing roughly 400 lbs and possessing a vary past 60 miles, the Meteor gives one of many widest no-escape zones, making it extraordinarily tough for enemy plane to evade an incoming Meteor hurtling at speeds better than 3,000 miles per hour. The Meteor intently resembles the AIM-120 Superior Medium-Vary Air-to-Air Missile, a product of U.S. origin. 

The SPEAR 3, then again, is a precision-guided, standoff cruise missile that’s launched from the air. This munition can attain distances of almost 90 miles and is designed to eradicate high-value targets, equivalent to command and management facilities, air protection programs, or logistical nodes, whether or not on land or at sea. The latest struggle in Ukraine has underscored the very important function of such munitions. The Ukrainian navy has demonstrated the effectiveness of the Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG air-launched cruise missiles in opposition to Russian key targets. 

Because the F-35 Program continues to draw extra European nations [at present, Europe comprises 11 of the 18 participants], it logically follows that Lockheed Martin ought to embody European-manufactured munitions just like the F-35 inside its choices.

The F-35

Representing the head of aeronautic development, the F-35 Lightning II is an unparalleled, versatile Fifth-generation fighter jet. This distinctive plane is obtainable in three distinct variations: The traditional take-off model generally known as the F-35A; the F-35B, additionally known as the Quick Take-off, Vertical Touchdown [STOVL] variant, which possesses the exceptional capability to launch and land akin to a helicopter; and the F-35C which is expertly engineered for operational use from the deck of an plane provider. 

Notably, every of the F-35 Lightning II variations shares frequent capabilities and programs, but the minor efficiency variations between them are largely on account of inherent structural distinctions. An instance of those variations could be seen within the F-35C, geared up with an particularly sturdy touchdown gear setup to endure the extraordinary loading strains of carrier-based operations. Along with this, it is ready to carry a bigger gas load, facilitating the execution of over-water missions. 

Unhealthy F-35 noise 'spends' millions of USD to insulate homes
Picture by Amber Arnold / State Journal

Impressively, all three variations of the F-35 Lightning II proficiently execute a numerous vary of mission units, together with however not restricted to: Strategic Assault, Air Superiority, Shut Air Help, Digital Warfare, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance [ISR], Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses [SEAD], and Destruction of Enemy Air Protection [DEAD]. 

The F-35 Lightning II has understandably garnered substantial curiosity globally. As of the newest depend in February, the F-35 program boasts participation by 18 nations, with a rising listing of these intent on becoming a member of.


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