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ILA 2024: MBDA presses Germany to integrate Meteor missile onto F-35A

A mock-up of the F-35A in German national markings at ILA 2024. With the first of 35 jets to be delivered from 2026, MBDA is pressing the Luftwaffe to integrate the Meteor missile, which it already carries on the Eurofighter. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

MBDA is pressing Germany to integrate its Meteor beyond-visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) onto its soon-to-be-delivered Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II combat aircraft.

Speaking on the opening day of the ILA Berlin Air Show held from 5 to 9 June, the managing director of MBDA Deutschland, Thomas Gottschild, said that while there was currently no formal requirement to do so, his group was keen to see the missile that is already carried on the Luftwaffe's Eurofighters carried on the F-35A as well.

“We are hoping for a German initiative going in that direction. There is nothing yet committed from the Luftwaffe, but we very much encourage it,” Gottschild said.

The Luftwaffe is to receive 35 F-35As, with deliveries commencing in the US in 2026 and the first aircraft arriving in Germany in 2027. Under its current Foreign Military Sales (FMS) weapons package, the jet is to be armed with the RTX AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) in the medium- to long-range air-to-air role.

The UK is financing integration of the Meteor onto its F-35B variant aircraft, with the combination set to be operational in about 2030. Italy is looking to carry the Meteor on both its F-35A and F-35B aircraft, and any German integration effort would likely leverage this.

For more information on the Meteor, please seePartners to decide on Meteor MLU by end of 2024 .

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