• Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mini-Cruise Missile SPEAR 3

Discussion in 'Military Forum' started by The SC, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. The SC


    Feb 13, 2012
    +16 / 17,238 / -0
    MBDA was showcasing its SPEAR 3 missile at the Farnborough International Air Show 2014. SPEAR is MBDA’s response to a component of the UK’s Selective Precision Effects At Range air launched requirement. The weapon will maximize the potential of the UK’s future combat air capability, matching the weapon to the aircraft: “a 5th generation weapon for a 5th generation fast jet”.

    MBDA Artist impressions showing:
    Left: the SPEAR missile can be "quad packed" per each F-35 weapon bay (8x missiles total).
    Right: SPEAR could well become the missile of choice for anti-surface missions to be conducted in the near future by Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm F-35B pilots launched from the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

    According to MBDA, recent conflicts have demonstrated the need for precision strike weapons that can operate night and day in all weather conditions against severe countermeasures and importantly attack moving and manoeuvering targets. Powered by a turbojet engine, SPEAR has the beyond horizon reach to ensure that the aircraft remains safely away from hostile air defence units.

    SPEAR is equipped with the latest generation precision effects warhead, designed to meet the demands of the future combat mission. This next generation air launched Surface Attack Weapon reduces the numbers of different weapons within inventory while also extending the operator’s ability to engage mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets far beyond the horizon.

    Fitted with the latest generation multi sensor seeker designed to operate in all combat conditions and to be able to engage a wide range of target types both on land and sea. SPEAR is effective against:
    • Naval vessels
    • Air Defence Units
    • Defended structures
    • Ballistic Missile launchers
    • Fast moving and manoeuvering vehicles
    • Main Battle Tanks, Self-Propelled Guns, Armoured Personnel Carriers


    Showcased at the MBDA chalet during Farnborough International Air Show 2014 was an F-35B model fitted with 2 Meteor missiles and 8 SPEAR 3 in the weapon bays.

    As explained by our colleague Gabriele from UK Armed Forces Commentary, it must be noted that SPEAR 3 is a powered weapon, while the American-made Small Diameter Bomb II only glides. SPEAR 3 has two small side intakes for its Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet, and the engine opens up a whole range of unique capabilities for a weapon so small. This 80 kg mini-cruise missile can be launched even when not facing the target (differently from SDB) and with more freedom regardless of launch height and weather conditions that affect gliding. The weapon is to be able to engage fixed and mobile targets alike, with a data link enabling post-launch control and retargeting. The propulsion is also fundamental in order to achieve the range of at least 100 km that the British MOD wants. SDB is a 45 nautical miles glide weapon, while the UK MOD and MBDA believe they can achieve north of 62 nautical miles for SPEAR.


    At Farnborough International Air Show 2014, MBDA was showcasing for the first time a full scale model of the SPEAR 3 quadruple rack specifically designed to fit in the F-35 weapons bay

    In the absence (for the time being) of any real plan to integrate and procure a true anti-ship missile for British F-35s, MBDA's SPEAR represents the best option available for ASUW missions. Each F-35Bs on board the Royal Navy aircraft carriers would be able to deploy up to 8x SPEAR missiles while remaining low observable (thanks to the weapons bay). Thanks to SPEAR, F-35 would have a real anti-ship capability. Despite its subsonic speed and relatively small warhead (for anti-ship role) a single F-35 could theoretically launch a saturating attack of 8 missiles against a surface vessel. This is probably enough to disable or put out of combat even a frigate size vessel in most cases.

    • Thanks Thanks x 2