The Luftwaffe’s Tactical Air Wing 74 completed initial flight tests of Eurofighter aircraft loaded with operational Meteor missiles last June at Neuberg Air Base in Bavaria, the service said in a statement to Defense News. Two jets were involved in the campaign, and the air force gathered live flying data to consider aircraft performance and system indications when carrying the missile.
The Meteor, built by European missile maker MBDA, is the third and latest missile in the nation’s Eurofighter weapon arsenal, which also includes AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs) and Infra-Red Imaging System-Tail (IRIS-T) short-range missiles. A Eurofighter pilot interviewed in the video said that the service will incorporate four Meteor missile systems, two AMRAAMs and two IRIS-T missiles on each aircraft.
The Eurofighter pilot, a major in the Luftwaffe, noted that the flight tests are crucial for the air force to study what sort of effects the Meteor will have on the fuel consumption and flight behavior of the Eurofighter.
The weapon’s beyond-visual-range capabilities will provide Eurofighter pilots with an additional tactical advantage, the pilot noted. Now, the service can fight targets that are not visible to the naked eye. “It was precisely for this ability that Meteor was procured,” he said.
The Meteor has a combat range of 200 km (124 miles) and measures about 12 feet long, weighing approximately 397 pounds. Its ramjet air-breathing engine allows the missile to adjust its velocity based on its target’s maneuvers, the pilot said. The new missile has almost the same dimensions as the AMRAAM, allowing the system to be easily mounted onto existing weapon stations by just exchanging the missile eject launcher, per the air force.
It was developed under a joint program with NATO member nations Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as Sweden, which is a NATO partner nation but not a member of the alliance.
The Meteor will be integrated on all of Germany’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, except for their eldest Tranche-1 models, the air force said. The Luftwaffe has plans to upgrade its aging Tranche-1 Eurofighter aircraft with new Tranche-4 models, and reportedly intends to procure up to 93 new Typhoon aircraft, along with over 40 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and E-A18G Growlers to replace the remainder of its Panavia Tornado fighter fleet.
© 2021, GDC. © GDC and www.globaldefensecorp.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.globaldefensecorp.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.