MBDA is all set to win a £411million (US $590 million) contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to develop the Spear 3 weapon.
The Spear 3 is described as the sister weapon to MBDA’s Brimstone already in service with the RAF in Iraq and Syria against so-called Islamic State, The Mail reported Sunday.
Spear 3 has already been test-fired from a Typhoon aircraft but the contract will allow MBDA to develop the missile for use with the controversial F35 Lightning stealth fighter, made by Lockheed of the US. The missile is expected to come into service with the Lightning in 2025.
It uses a turbojet engine rather than traditional rocket power and it will be further developed before going into full production after four years.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, “These new missiles combined with our new F35 Lightning will enable us to hit our enemies harder. They are both part of our commitment to increase defence spending to keep Britain safe.”
“The weapon provided ‘decisive operational advantage’. The F35 has been dogged by problems during testing but is intended to be the mainstay of the Royal Navy’s two aircraft carriers,” Tony Douglas, equipment chief with the MoD was quoted as saying by the news daily.
The first Lightning is due to land on the carriers in 2018, while the aircraft will also be in service with the RAF.