25 Mar 2019

Work begins integrating next generation weapons onto UK F-35 Fleet

A team of BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA engineers are to enhance the capability of the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning aircraft by commencing work on the integration of next generation weapons.

BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile.

Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on ASRAAM and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability for the UK.

Last year, a pilot from 17 Squadron, the RAF’s F-35 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California took to the skies for the first time with UK weapons, including ASRAAM and Paveway IV.

This followed work carried out during the F-35 programme’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) initial testing phase to develop and certify weapons capabilities by an integrated test team. This team includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA, working alongside the UK Air Warfare Centre to clear weapons for Operational Testing by RAF/RN pilots.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President, US Programmes of BAE Systems, said:“BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR.

“We are extremely proud of the critical contribution UK engineers are playing for both the UK and the global F-35 fleet through the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft.”

image © Crown Copyright

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