A triplet of SPEAR 3 missiles
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by||Royal Air Force|
|Manufacturer||MBDA (UK) Ltd, Henlow|
|Mass||< 220 lb (100 kg)|
|Length||71 in (1,800 mm)|
|Diameter||7.1 in (180 mm)|
|80 mi (130 km) or 140km |
|Flight control surfaces|
MBDA was awarded an Assessment Phase contract for SPEAR 3, a standoff attack weapon. This is specified to have a range of at least 100 km, although current figures for SPEAR indicate a range over 130 km (80+nm).[N 1] The weapon will make substantial reuse of technologies from the Brimstone precision strike missile that is used for engagements at shorter ranges. The 2 m (6.6 ft) weapon will fly at high-subsonic speed using a turbojet and wing kit, and will feature a multimode seeker with INS/GPS guidance and datalink. The assessment phase concluded with flight trials in 2014 on Typhoon. The missile is set to use the same Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet as the JSOW-ER.[N 2] MBDA has shown artwork of a three-missile launcher on a single Typhoon weapon station, and four will fit with a Meteor air-to-air missile in each internal weapons bay of the F-35B. In May 2016, the MOD awarded a £411 million contract to MBDA for the development of the air-launched SPEAR 3 missile. SPEAR 3 will be integrated with the F-35 Block 4 software package and is also planned to be used on the Eurofighter Typhoon.
In March 2016, a SPEAR trials missile was launched from a Eurofighter Typhoon trials aircraft operated by BAE Systems at the QinetiQ Aberporth range in Wales. The missile transitioned through separation from the aircraft to powered flight before completing a series of manoeuvres, ending in a terminal dive to the desired point of impact. The missile accurately followed the planned trajectory and was well within simulation predictions; all trial objectives were achieved.
- "The UK MOD and MBDA believe they can achieve north of 62 nautical miles for SPEAR." - Navy Recognition July 2014
- "SPEAR 3 has two small side intakes for its Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet." - Navy Recognition July 2014
- "High Performance Propulsion for Tactical Missiles and UAV's" (PDF). Whitney AeroPower. 19 May 2016.
- "UK MoD funds further development of Spear 3 missile". Flight Global. 18 May 2016.
- "MBDA SPEAR 3 missile would bring true anti-ship capabilities to RAF and FAA F-35s". Naval Recognition. 22 July 2014.
- "No UK Spear Cap 3 Decision on F-35 until 2018". Defense News. 28 May 2015.
- "SPEAR3 — FLEXIBILITY AND AN ALMIGHTY PUNCH". Eurofighter Typhoon. 20 February 2019.
- "£411m invested in F-35s new anti-ship/tank/building mini-cruise missile". Navy News. 19 May 2016.
- "Aimpoint selection: the UK's SPEAR Cap 3 air-to-surface weapon" (PDF). IHS Janes. 19 May 2016.
- "UK Study Contract Awarded to integrate Brimstone 2 onto Typhoon". Bae Systems. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- Hoyle, Craig (27 June 2012). "PICTURES: MBDA sharpens Spear missile design for F-35 integration". Flight International.
- "House of Commons Written Answers Hansard". UK Parliament. 21 May 2013.
- "£411 million investment in new missile for UK's new jets sustains 700 UK jobs". UK Ministry of Defence. 18 March 2016.
- "Storm Shadow dropped from UK's F-35B follow-on integration plan". IHS Janes. 20 May 2016.
- "MBDA SHOWCASES THE SPEAR PRECISION STRIKE MISSILE FOR THE F-35". MBDA. 12 July 2016.