MBDA Systems has received a contract valued at £550 million for production of the SPEAR3 missile system from the UK’s Ministry of Defence. The network enabled miniature cruise missile can travel long distances at high-subsonic speed and over the next decade will become the primary air-to-ground weapon for the UK’s F-35B Lightning jets.
“MBDA is delighted to receive this contract, it is the result of many years of hard work by our dedicated and highly skilled engineering team,” said Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA. “Stand-off, network enabled and swarming weapons are a key part of MBDA’s vision – SPEAR is leading the way with these technologies and is the most technically advanced weapon of its type.”
“The development of this next-generation missile will allow us to protect our personnel and assets on the ground, from thousands of metres in the sky above,” added UK Defence Minister Jeremy Quin. “Our commitment to this system will secure hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the UK and showcase British technology and weapon expertise on the world stage.”
“The placement of this contract marks the next major stage of the SPEAR3 weapon system’s development and is a result of months of detailed negotiations between MBDA and the LMAS project team,” stated Colonel Martin French, DE&S’ Lightweight and Medium Attack Systems (LMAS) team leader. “Building on the successes and technology achievements of the previous four years’ work with MBDA, we now enter the exciting and challenging demonstration phase where we start to prove the system against the UK’s requirements and ramp up activities to integrate this highly-capable weapon system onto the F-35B aircraft.”