There’s No Escaping MBDA’s Meteor Missile

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Drsomnath999, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Location:
    BHUBANESHWAR
    [​IMG]
    MBDA has successfully completed firing trials of Meteor, the missile that will be carried by the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen, and the company is now preparing to start production. The collaborative effort by six European nations has been nine years in development but has produced a beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is “vastly superior to anything else in the market,” according to chief engineer Andy Bradford.


    When it received the development contract at the end of 2002, MBDA was set the task of producing a missile with a “no escape zone” that was larger than any other AAM, specifically the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM. This has been achieved by combining a clever boost-ramjet propulsion system with an active radar seeker derived from MBDA’s Aster and Mica missiles.

    According to Bradford, control of the propulsion system gives the Meteor a decisive edge. He explained that compared to current medium-range AAMs, the booster on Meteor is smaller but the missile sustains a high cruise speed throughout the intercept sequence, and may even accelerate as it closes on the target.

    The weapon’s electronics and propulsion control unit (ECPU) calculates the appropriate cruise speed depending on the launch condition and the target’s altitude, and adjusts the ramjet’s air intake and duct covers accordingly. The distance that the Meteor has to fly is unknown as yet–the target may be maneuvering, for instance. The ECPU monitors that distance and the missile’s remaining fuel. When the range to go indicates that the missile won’t run out of fuel if it accelerates, the throttle is fully opened to maximize the intercept speed. If the target is at maximum range, there will be little if any acceleration.

    “The aim is to turn all of the fuel into speed by target intercept, but not before,” Bradford explained. “The Meteor’s reach and supersonic speed dominates the engagement space,” he continued.

    For the first time, MBDA has detailed the long and painstaking process of ground and air tests that has brought the Meteor to production-ready status. The contract included staged payments that were made only when certain milestones were reached.

    The Meteor first got airborne in 2005 on a Rafale launched from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. But the seven early demonstration firings were all done from a Gripen on the Vidsel range in Sweden, starting in 2006. These flights were from the Gripen’s rail launcher. They were followed by four tests of the ejector launcher on a Eurofighter, at various altitudes and g-loads.

    Having flight-tested various intercept profiles, MBDA defined the changes required in the next batch of missiles–the preproduction standard. The first of these guided firings (GFs) was from a Gripen in mid-2009 in a snap-down, tail-chase engagement. That tested the seeker against background clutter. Then came five ejector-launched GFs over the Hebrides range in northern Scotland from UK Royal Air Force Tornado F.3 interceptors operated by QinetiQ.

    GF2 was a tough test of the missile’s ability to snap-up through thick air in a tail chase. GF3 then tested high-altitude performance, GF4 was a longer snap-down tail chase against background clutter and GF5 was a high-speed head-on engagement at “well in excess of 100 kilometers,” said Bradford. The Meteor’s actual maximum range is classified.

    Finally, GF6 was another long-range and head-on engagement in March-April of this year that fully tested the missile’s data link to and from the launch aircraft. Bradford noted that the targets for all except GF5 were high-subsonic Mirach drones with a radar cross section “equivalent to a real-world fighter,” according to Bradford. GF5 engaged a BQM-167 drone.

    “All the targets conducted a final evasive maneuver,” added Bradford. There have since been three more firings from the Tornados over the Aberporth range off the coast of Wales, to test the Meteor’s performance against countermeasures (chaff and jammers).

    MBDA admitted to setbacks in the test program. A total of 21 firings were required to achieve the 16 successful ones described above. For instance, just one incorrect line of new software code defeated the first attempt to demonstrate GF3, by causing the location data transmitted from the aircraft to the missile to be misinterpreted. GF4 had to be re-flown after a telemetry problem, and so did GF6 after a connector/cable problem prevented the motor from igniting. “There were no short cuts in this development, we had six nations watching us all the time,” Bradford noted. The last three firings on the Aberporth range were all first-time successes and direct hits, he added.

    The warhead and seeker have yet to be tested in combination, but Bradford is confident that enough firings have been conducted. “We’ve collected vast amounts of data to prove the model,” he said.

    Interspersed with the firings have been more than 40 captive-carry flights to test the seeker and a host of ground trials. These included structural and reliability testing, more than 100 warhead firings by Bayern Chemie in Germany and intensive munition trials to satisfy the French authorities that the Meteor could go to sea with the naval Rafale. The missile must be able to withstand 1,000 hours of airborne captive carry (although the motor must be changed at 500 hours).

    What comes next? MBDA has already delivered some ground-handling training missiles from its factory in Lostock, Scotland. That site will carry out final assembly for all six nations, once they have signaled final acceptance. MBDA expects them to do so by the end of the year. Only Germany has yet to confirm a production contract.

    The first integration firing from the Gripen has already been completed, and live captive-carry trials have been flown on the Rafale. Those warplanes should be carrying the Meteor in operations by 2015. As for Eurofighter, the main integration contract has not yet been finalized, which could delay the projected UK in-service date of July 2015. MBDA has just finished work on a preliminary contract with Lockheed Martin to study how Meteor will fit into the F-35’s internal weapons bay. Wind tunnel tests to study the airflow around the bay doors as the missile is ejected will be next. The UK’s first operational F-35s will carry AMRAAMs, but the Meteor is scheduled for the stealth fighter’s Block 4 software release.

    MBDA reports significant export interest in the Meteor. The U.S. has no equivalent–unless a secret (“black”) program is under way. Operational analysis conducted by the company suggests that a fighter firing the Meteor is six to eight times more likely to survive an air-to-air engagement against a representative threat than one equipped with a currently available medium-range AAM. However, it remains to be seen whether the European governments that sponsored the development will be willing to share Meteor’s advanced technology with many other countries.

    There’s No Escaping MBDA’s Meteor Missile | Aviation International News
     
  2.  
  3. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Location:
    BHUBANESHWAR
    JUST IMAGINE FOLKS WHAT KILLER PLATFORM WOULD RAFALE BE WHEN IT IS GOING TO BE ARMED BY RAMJET POWERED METEOR BVRAAM &
    LONG RANGE MICA IR BVRAAM MISSILE.:thumb:
     
    sob, sayareakd, maomao and 1 other person like this.
  4. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    904
    Likes Received:
    195
    even the Su-30 with a cobra? i doubt!!!
     
  5. Apollyon

    Apollyon Führer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,600
    Likes Received:
    2,380
    Location:
    आर्यावर्त
    Is the Weapon Package for Indian Rafale's finalized ..??
    are we gonna integrate Python-5 ... :)
    also are there any plans to integrate HELINA instead of Brimstone ATGM ... :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  6. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,582
    Likes Received:
    28,371
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
    Meteor is a good BVR, If operational no doubt we are going for it..

    French suit will be applied on three aircrafts:

    1. Rafale F3
    2. MIR-2009
    3. SU-30MKI Super 30 upgrade
     
    Koovie likes this.
  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    MKI and Mirage-2000 won't see them. MKI will have Astra and R-77 versions. Too many BVR options is bad. Mirage-2000 already has orders for 450 MICAs. More are not necessary.

    It will be too expensive anyway. Rafale with Meteor is enough.
     
  8. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Location:
    BHUBANESHWAR
    mate plz dont get carried away by those cobra manuveur of Su 30 ,.This manuveur looks good on airshows but in combat they are not as useful .
     
    ashdoc likes this.
  9. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Location:
    BHUBANESHWAR
    well it's about common sense that Rafale would have Meteor so we would also have meteor by defacto

    Regarding integration of foreign weapon depends upon IAF & french .I would love to see that python 5 missile on Rafale,but u cant say anything right now until the deal
    itself get signed:D
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  10. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Location:
    BHUBANESHWAR
    bro i didnt get you
    french suit means what??

    do u mean avionics !!!
     
  11. Immanuel

    Immanuel Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,135
    Likes Received:
    892
    I think it would cheaper if we just have Astra mk-2 in sufficient numbers for migs, su-30s, mirages, LCA etc. We can easily start work on a Astra mk-3 with ram jet to have home made meteor, I think if money and priority is allocated it can be ready for testing/ induction by 2016-18.
     
  12. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,220
    Location:
    BHUBANESHWAR
    @ Dk
    u were talking about brimstone ,but it is under study only
    [​IMG]
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  13. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    Helina is an obvious option. I think IAF wants to use it on Jaguars for CAS.

    It all depends on the contract. Hopefully we are allowed the use of our weapons apart from European imports.

    I would prefer Astra instead of Meteor too.
     
  14. Immanuel

    Immanuel Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,135
    Likes Received:
    892
    Meteor is too expensive, I am sure, give the right effort, a ramjet Astra-mk-3 can be easily developed. We already are working on advanced scramjets for Brahmos-2.

    AASM is too expensive for all of the birds, at over 100 K - 200 K per unit, it is far too expensive for a weapon that has little advantages over the SDB, SDB should procured in huge numbers, by far the most useful thing, furthermore a further order of 2000 CBU-97SFW with WCMD wouldn't hurt, both weapons on any given day are far more useful than the AASM. JDAM, LJDAM, JDAM-ER, Paveway 4 are all cheaper alternatives.

    The unit costs are incredibly low for US/ Israeli weapons.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  15. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,582
    Likes Received:
    28,371
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
    Weapon suit..
     
  16. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    3,661
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Could somebody clear the point, whether a missile with Ramjet will have a bigger thermal signature than a convention A-A missile and also at the those high speeds how maneuverable would these missiles be.
     
  17. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    Not sure about Meteor, we will have to wait for it to be operationalized if we are to see material on it's IR emissions.

    Meteor can reduce speed in order to turn. But I think it will be packing at Mach 4.5 during end game.

    To match the Meteor, a solid rocket may have to carry twice the amount of fuel to sustain high speed. So, you can say the Aim-120D and RVV-BD should match the Meteor's NEZ at 100Km.

    The turn rate of the Meteor is obviously lesser than R-77 or Aim-120, so IMHO the NEZ for the Meteor is greater only for a non maneuverable target. Bring in maneuvering and the NEZ reduces much faster as compared to Aim-120 or R-77. I think the Meteor will depend a lot on assuming the targets actual position(Pronav) and the pk could end up being lesser than C-7/RVV-SD.

    Maybe the Europeans are of the belief the targets will never know the Meteor is headed their way while the Russians and Americans don't want to take such chances even with 5th gen aircraft on the way.
     
  18. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    The problem with Meteor is that the initial boost phase is slower than R-77/Aim-120.

    However, the cruise speed is faster than R-77/Aim-120 and the end game depends a lot on distance from the target and the amount of fuel left. If the distance is still too far then there is no acceleration.

    The new seeker and guidance will make it a better missile anyway.
     
  19. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    3,661
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Thanks p2p, however in case of both sides being guided by AWACS, then I feel the Meteor could have a lower kill ratio than R 77/Aim 120
     
  20. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    Huh! Why?

    I don't think AWACS would affect the outcome drastically.

    It would be the opposite because an AWACS would mean the enemy does not know from which direction the missile is headed towards it, let alone whether a missile is actually cued at it. But this advantage exists with R-77/Aim-120 too.

    If the enemy does not know a BVR has been fired at it, then the aircraft is as good as dead, regardless of the missile type.
     
  21. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    3,661
    Location:
    New Delhi
    No what I meant that if both the sides are being guided by the respective AWACs then the other side could be forewarned about the missile and take evasive action.

    My presumption was based on this line of yours
     

Share This Page