Principal Long-Range Strike Weapon for F-35
MBDA has received a contract from the UK MoD valued at £500 million (€554 million) for production of the SPEAR3 network-enabled miniature cruise missile, the company announced on 6 January.
SPEAR will be the main medium-to-long-range strike weapon for Britain’s F-35s, enabling them to defeat challenging targets such as mobile long-range air defence systems at over-the-horizon ranges in all weathers and in highly contested environments. Guided firings of SPEAR will commence from a TYPHOON platform within 18 months, with missile and launcher production beginning in 2023. The new contract follows successful implementation of the weapon development phase contract for SPEAR, placed in 2016, and the contracting of integration of SPEAR onto F-35 in 2019.
“This contract […] is the result of many years of hard work by our dedicated and highly skilled engineering team. 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,” commented MBDA’s CEO, Eric Béranger.
The contract will employ a peak of 570 people at MBDA and an additional 200 in the Tier 1 supply chain, creating 190 highly-skilled jobs at MBDA in areas including system design, software engineering, seekers, guidance control and navigation. It forms part of the Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA), a partnership initiated in 2010 between the MoD and MBDA on sovereign complex weapons design and production. The PMA delivers military equipment for the British armed forces and has secured over 4,000 jobs at MBDA while generating savings worth over £1.2 billion.