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.