A Eurofighter combat aircraft has released an MBDA Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile for the first time, with the milestone having been achieved over a UK test range on 4 December.
Performed by a BAE Systems test pilot using the UK's Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft 1, the event included ejecting a telemetry-equipped Meteor test round from a rear-fuselage missile station over the Qinetiq firing range in Aberporth, west Wales.
"The missile motor was fired, providing data that will allow the missile launch envelope to be expanded," says Eurofighter. The Meteor is powered by a scramjet rocket developed by MBDA Germany subsidiary Bayern-Chemie.
Being integrated as part of a future enhancements flight test programme for the Eurofighter, Meteor is designed as a European successor to the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM which currently arms the type.
Meteor is scheduled to enter operational use with Swedish air force Saab Gripen fighters in 2015, before also being fielded by the Eurofighters of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and France's Dassault Rafales from later this decade.
A series of development and test firings has previously been performed using a Gripen testbed in Sweden and the UK.