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INNOVATION  FUTURE EQUIPMENT

This ramjet-powered air-defence weapon system, described by some as a game-changer, has the longest range of any air-to-air missile on the market and the largest no-escape zone available. As such, it has the ability to transform an air force’s capabilities. Chief of the Swedish Air Force Major General Mats Helgesson is excited about the missile’s introduction onto the Gripen, and explains that Sweden’s commitment to the programme extends a long way. “When we looked into the future some 15 years ago we came to the conclusion that we had a need for an upgraded air-to-air capability,” says Helgesson. “What we needed was longer range with a more robust solution for the future, based on the area surrounding Sweden where we are charged with undertaking air

defence.” However, the country didn’t want to just buy a missile off the shelf; it wanted to participate in its design and development. “So, 15 years ago, we decided to join the MBDA development with France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK on the Meteor missile.”

The Swedish Air Force’s Saab JAS 39 Gripen was the first aircraft to put the MBDA Meteor beyond-visualrange air-to-air missile into service

UPGRADING THE GRIPEN Helgesson is very pleased with the way things have progressed since then. “Being part of the international partnership has been a success,” he says. “We have been in many different consortia and joint ventures in the past. Some have been successful, others not quite so, but this is a good example of how it should be run. It has been more or less on time, as well as more or less spot on in terms of the finances, so we are happy.” For the Flygvapnet, in particular, things have gone extremely well and the missile has been installed and INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION AIR POWER 2016

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RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force

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