In a significant milestone for the Italian Air Force, a comprehensive testing campaign for the Meteor missile was successfully completed at the UK missile firing range in the Hebrides. This operation, known as the Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E) campaign, aimed to assess the operational viability of the Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) Meteor and the Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) in conjunction with the F-2000A (Eurofighter) weapon system. The campaign, which included two phases, was designed to evaluate the Meteor missile’s performance under realistic operational conditions against remote-controlled targets. The first phase, recently concluded, involved testing the Meteor missile in its new configuration for Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. This new configuration, known as Phase 2 of Enhancement Bravo (P2Eb), enables Eurofighters to be equipped with Meteor missiles.
The test campaign, which will be followed by a second phase in late 2024, was meticulously coordinated by the 4th Department of the Air Force General Staff. To ensure its success, a joint team known as the “Typhoon Operational Evaluation Team (TOET)” was formed. This team consisted of highly skilled individuals, including pilots and engineers from the Experimental Flight Department, Weapons Instructors from Typhoon Operational Groups, and Mission Data Specialists from ReSTOGE. Support personnel from all F-2000A departments played a crucial role in facilitating the testing process. The testing itself encompassed both aerial and ground evaluations, with a notable highlight being the use of the Telemetric Operational Missile (TOM) Meteor. This telemetric version of the Meteor missile allowed for the comprehensive recording of vital flight parameters, which were essential for verifying the missile’s real-world performance.
In addition to assessing the Meteor missile, the testing campaign included the launch of AMRAAM missiles to evaluate their effectiveness under increasingly challenging conditions. This comprehensive evaluation provides invaluable insights into the capabilities and readiness of the Italian Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The successful completion of this campaign marks a significant step forward in enhancing the operational capabilities of the Eurofighter Typhoon, ensuring that it remains a formidable asset in the defense arsenal of Italy. With this testing, the Italian Air Force demonstrates its commitment to staying at the forefront of aerospace technology and maintaining a robust defense posture. As the second phase of testing approaches in 2024, the Italian Air Force is poised to continue pushing the boundaries of its operational capabilities and ensuring the security of the nation and its allies.
The Meteor is a European active radar guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) developed and manufactured by MBDA. It offers a multi-shot capability (multiple launches against multiple targets), and has the ability to engage highly maneuverable targets such as jet aircraft, and small targets such as UAVs and cruise missiles in a heavy electronic countermeasures (ECM) environment with a range far in excess of 200 kilometres (110 nmi). A solid-fueled ramjet motor allows the missile to cruise at a speed of over Mach 4 and provides the missile with thrust and mid-course acceleration. A two-way data link enables the launch aircraft to provide mid-course target updates or retargeting if required, including data from other parties. The data link can transmit missile information such as functional and kinematic status, information about multiple targets, and notification of target acquisition by the seeker.