Meteor and Gripen: The Gamechanger Duo
An effective Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) is a lot more than the range it offers. It is also about how big the “no escape zone” you generate, i.e. within what range you are 100% certain of shooting down your target. Mission success is also highly dependent on the fighter that launches the missile. The level of integration between the fighter´s sensors, avionics and the Meteor makes all the difference. Gripen – the first fighter to operate the Meteor missile, several years ahead of all other fighters – has the most comprehensive and mature integration of the missile, making it the ultimate Meteor platform.
Initially developed to meet the emerging BVR missile needs of six European nations – the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Spain, the Meteor can strike with a pin-point precision from far beyond the horizon.
Unique Propulsion System
Unlike conventional missiles, the Meteor is powered by a Ramjet, a solid fuel, variable flow-ducted air-breathing rocket motor. Once the missile is launched, the engine optimizes fuel burn depending on how the target manoeuvres, unlike other missiles that have uniform fuel burn cycles. As the Meteor approaches its target, additional fuel kicks in to accelerate the missile in its terminal phase. In the process, the BVRAAM creates a 3-5 times larger No-Escape-Zone (NEZ) than any other comparative BVR missile in the market.
"Even when fired at very long-range, the Meteor retains its high energy state. This means it will have unique probability of intercept for any mission and against any target," says Jussi Halmetoja, Gripen pilot and Operations Advisor at Saab.
The Meteor is fitted with proximity and impact fuses and has a fragmentation warhead designed to intercept any type of target. The proximity fuse subsystems can detect the target and calculate the optimum time to detonate the warhead.
"The Meteor delivers total target destruction. Equipped with an active radar seeker, the missile acquires and tracks its target, providing terminal guidance for optimal intercept. Be it an enemy aircraft, a cruise missile or even an unmanned aerial vehicle, the Meteor can intercept at ranges of well over 100 km," says Jussi Halmetoja.
Decisive Network-Enabled Capability with Gripen
Unlike some of the other platforms with the Meteor integrated, the Gripen integration of Meteor features a two-way datalink that allows for crucial information exchange during various engagement phases. This provides the pilot with information such as missile kinematic and tactical status during the whole intercept, enabling maximized lethality and combat awareness.
Essentially, this means that the Meteor offers operational effectiveness like no other missile in the prolific dense electronic warfare environments of today and in the future. For the Indian Air Force, Gripen and Meteor's unique harmonisation offers the next level of combat effectiveness. "It's an absolute game-changer," states Jussi Halmetoja.