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Meteor missile completes integrated flight tests on Rafale
Rafale with Meteor. © DGA

Meteor missile completes integrated flight tests on Rafale

Teams from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), Dassault Aviation, MBDA and Thales successfully completed the final guided firing (integration flight test) of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile against an air target from a Rafale combat aircraft.

During the test, which took place at the DGA’s Biscarrosse Test Centre, the Meteor successfully engaged and destroyed “at very long range” a high-speed air target (Mirach) simulating an evading fighter aircraft.

This fifth, global firing completed the two-year integration flight testing campaign of the Meteor air-to-air missile on Rafale. Performance is described as better than expected. All functionalities were successfully tested (such as the activation of the data-link between the Rafale and the missile) in numerous aircraft flight conditions (speed, load factor) and electronic warfare environment.

Just after the Meteor firing, a (simulated) firing of the currently-used MICA (RF) air-to-air missile was triggered to demonstrate that the Rafale and its crew can efficiently manage a multi-target situation, and then engage the enemy with multi-firings.

Equipped with a throttleable ramjet motor and featuring a “fire and forget” firing mode, Meteor is intended for very long BVR (Beyond Visual Range) air defence operations.

Thanks to the extended range capability of its RBE2 Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the Rafale equipped with Meteor will be able to intercept targets at very long range from 2018 (Rafale “F3R”), complemented by the MICA (RF/IR) missile, both for combat interception and self-defense. For now, the Rafale is the only European combat aircraft in operational service to incorporate AESA radar technology.

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