MBDA
Hertfordshire, UK
+44 (0)1438 752000
www.mbda-systems.com

MBDA has been awarded a contract to demonstrate SPEAR-EW, a new electronic warfare version of the SPEAR weapon system family on order for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

SPEAR-EW is being developed by MBDA in partnership with Leonardo to complete a wide range of Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) missions, under a Technical Demonstration Programme (TDP) contract awarded by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S). SPEAR-EW will integrate a cuttingedge miniaturized EW payload from Leonardo, which will act as a stand-in jammer to greatly increase the survivability of RAF aircraft and suppress enemy air defenses, acting as a significant force multiplier.

The core of SPEAR-EW’s payload is Leonardo’s advanced, miniaturized Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology, which offers advanced and future-proof electronic jamming and deception. The new SPEAR-EW will complement the SPEAR network enabled miniature cruise missile, which is designed to precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all types of weather, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, while ensuring a safe stand-off range between the aircraft and enemy air defenses.

Powered by a turbojet engine, the SPEAR missile offers over double the range, and a far more flexible operating envelope, when compared to a conventional glide weapon. SPEAR-EW utilizes this long endurance through its capacity to be launched at enhanced stand-off ranges and loiter while carrying out its jamming mission. The compact size of the SPEAR family allows four weapons to be carried internally in each of the two internal weapons bays of the F-35, or three per station on the Eurofighter Typhoon. SPEAR-EW will keep the same form and fit as the baseline SPEAR to enable a single integration pathway and launcher solution.

SPEAR family complements MBDA’s wider portfolio of strike weapons, filling the gap between the large and very-long range Storm Shadow deep strike missile and the highly accurate Brimstone close-air-support missile.

The SPEAR weapons system also recently completed a set of ground trials and fit-checks of a loaded three-pack SPEAR launcher onto a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft. The work was undertaken by a joint engineering team from MBDA, BAE Systems, and the Ministry of Defence's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), and took place at BAE Systems' flight test site in Warton, Lancashire.

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Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2020 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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