MBDA Spear missile and the F-35


6:27/12:by Craig Hoyle


European manufacturer MBDA has unveiled a UK-developed design for a next-generation air-to-surface weapon suitable for internal carriage by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

To be shown for the first time as a full-scale mock-up at the Farnborough air show, the Spear concept would use a turbojet engine and a wing kit to provide a stand-off range of about 100km (54nm). “Speed and range are the two main drivers” behind this configuration, says Rob Thornley, export working group leader for MBDA UK.

“Another key requirement is to provide multiple load-out on the F-35,” says Thornley. The company expects to be able to fit up to four Spear weapons and one Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile in each of the F-35’s two weapons bays.