First ASRAAMs Delivered for UK F-35 Testing

Flightglobal // February 08, 2016

MBDA has delivered the first batch of advanced short range air-to-air missiles (ASRAAM) to the USA, ahead of planned flight trials on board the UK’s Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

Delivered in January and supported by UK weapons-integration lead BAE Systems, the test examples of ASRAAM will be integrated to become the type's first British-built missile, and will be used during flight trials and air-launch tests this year.

These trials will include environmental data gathering, safe separation from the aircraft, weapon integration testing, and firing trials and target engagement, and will be carried out from NAS Patuxent River in Maryland and Edwards AFB in California. The Royal Air Force's 17 Sqn is based at the latter, where it is responsible for the test and evaluation of the UK's F-35B.

ASRAAM is a short-range, infrared-guided missile capable of flying at Mach 3, and is also carried by the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornado GR4s.

"The upcoming work to integrate the missile onto the F-35 Lightning II will provide a state-of-the-art weapon for both our RAF and Royal Navy pilots,” says Philip Dunne, British defence procurement minister. “The integration of this missile also demonstrates the success of the UK defence industry's contribution to the wider F-35 programme,” he adds.

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