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A triplet of SPEAR 3 missiles
Type Air-to-surface missile
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
Used by Royal Air Force
Production history
Manufacturer MBDA (UK) Ltd, Henlow
Weight < 220 lb (100 kg)
Length 71 in (1,800 mm)
Diameter 7.1 in (180 mm)

Engine Turbojet engine[1]
80 mi (130 km) [2][3][4]
Flight control surfaces
Typhoon (planned)
F-35B (planned)

The Select Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR) Capability 3 is a future British air-to-ground and possibly anti-ship missile.[5][6]


MBDA was awarded an Assessment Phase contract for SPEAR 3, a standoff attack weapon.[7] This is specified to have a range of at least 100 km, although current figures for SPEAR indicate a range over 130 km (80+nm).[8][N 1] The weapon will make substantial reuse of technologies from the Brimstone precision strike missile that is used for engagements at shorter ranges. The 2 m (6.6 ft) weapon will fly at high-subsonic speed using a turbojet and wing kit,[9] and will feature a multimode seeker with INS/GPS guidance and datalink.[9] The assessment phase concluded with flight trials in 2014[9] on Typhoon.[10] The missile is set to use the same Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet as the JSOW-ER.[8][N 2] MBDA has shown artwork of a three-missile launcher on a single Typhoon weapon station,[9] and four will fit with a Meteor air-to-air missile in each internal weapons bay of the F-35B.[9] In May 2016, the MOD awarded a £411 million contract to MBDA for the development of the air-launched SPEAR 3 missile.[11] SPEAR 3 will be integrated with the Block 4 F-35 software package and is also planned to be used on the Eurofighter Typhoon.[12]

SPEAR 3 missile - wings deployed


In March 2016, a SPEAR trials missile was launched from a Eurofighter Typhoon trials aircraft operated by BAE Systems at the QinetiQ Aberporth range in Wales. The missile transitioned through separation from the aircraft to powered flight before completing a series of manoeuvres, ending in a terminal dive to the desired point of impact. The missile accurately followed the planned trajectory and was well within simulation predictions; all trial objectives were achieved.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "The UK MOD and MBDA believe they can achieve north of 62 nautical miles for SPEAR." - Navy Recognition July 2014
  2. ^ "SPEAR 3 has two small side intakes for its Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet." - Navy Recognition July 2014
  1. ^ "High Performance Propulsion for Tactical Missiles and UAV's" (PDF). Whitney AeroPower. 19 May 2016.
  2. ^ "UK MoD funds further development of Spear 3 missile". Flight Global. 18 May 2016.
  3. ^ "MBDA SPEAR 3 missile would bring true anti-ship capabilities to RAF and FAA F-35s". Naval Recognition. 22 July 2014.
  4. ^ "No UK Spear Cap 3 Decision on F-35 until 2018". Defense News. 28 May 2015.
  5. ^ "£411m invested in F-35s new anti-ship/tank/building mini-cruise missile". Navy News. 19 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Aimpoint selection: the UK's SPEAR Cap 3 air-to-surface weapon" (PDF). IHS Janes. 19 May 2016.
  7. ^ "UK Study Contract Awarded to integrate Brimstone 2 onto Typhoon". Bae Systems. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b Administrator. "MBDA SPEAR 3 missile would bring true anti-ship capabilities to RAF and FAA F-35s". Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e Hoyle, Craig (27 June 2012). "PICTURES: MBDA sharpens Spear missile design for F-35 integration". Flight International.
  10. ^ "House of Commons Written Answers Hansard". UK Parliament. 21 May 2013.
  11. ^ "£411 million investment in new missile for UK's new jets sustains 700 UK jobs". UK Ministry of Defence. 18 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Storm Shadow dropped from UK's F-35B follow-on integration plan". IHS Janes. 20 May 2016.

External links

  • SPEAR 3

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