The British Defence Department has signed a contract with MBDA, according to which British Royal Air Force F-35B fighters will be equipped with third generation Spear 3 missiles. The contract, worth £550 million (approximately $750 million), will provide new weapons by 2025, according to Defence Blog.
“The development of this next-generation missile will allow us to protect our personnel and assets on the ground, from thousands of meters in the sky above,” said Defence Minister Jeremy Quin as quoted by the Defence Blog. “Our commitment to this system will secure hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the UK and showcase British technology and weapon expertise on the world stage.”
The contract was the third in the history of Spear 3 missiles. In 2016, MVDA entered into an agreement to develop the missile. Already in 2019, a £411 million deal was struck, and the Spear 3 missile was integrated into the F-35 fighter's fire control system. According to British military officials, the Spear 3 mini-missile may also be used by Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.
The SPEAR missile is 180 cm long and has a range of more than 140 kilometres.