The British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter jets launched from RAF Lossiemouth for the first time with the Meteor air-to-air missile during a Quick Reaction Alert exercise for airspace defense. The launch brings an end to several years of research, development and testing to add this additional capability onto Typhoon to ensure it is ready to meet the demands of the future. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 10 December, MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) is now operational aboard UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft
Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile has been manufactured by MBDA in Stevenage, UK, and is designed to provide a multi-shot capability against long-range manoeuvring targets. Developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA, Meteor meets the needs of six European nations, which are the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Sweden. The project has created 430 jobs across the country. The 3.7m-long ramjet-powered Meteor is expected to operate from the F-35 Lightning aircraft in the future.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon, which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances. The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our armed forces.” “The RAF’s prized Typhoon force is unquestionably now the cornerstone of British and Nato military power. It has proved itself in combat roles over Libya, Iraq and Syria, protecting UK skies and overseas territories, and providing critical support to our Nato allies in Eastern Europe.”
The Eurofighter Typhoon is the U.K.’s primary Quick Reaction Alert fighter for defending its domestic air space in the mainland and the Falkland islands. In July the RAF received back into service the first of its Typhoons to be provisioned for the Project Centurion weapons fit that includes the Meteor missile. The Project Centurion configuration is intended to combine the Typhoon’s already-delivered Raytheon Paveway IV precision-guided bomb capability with the Meteor, Storm Shadow cruise missile, and Brimstone low-yield missile in time for the retirement from RAF service of the Panavia Tornado GR4 in early 2019.