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Gripens to carry Meteor missiles

Sept. 10, 2010 at 12:07 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The Saab group has received an order from the Swedish Defense Material Administration to integrate MBDA's Meteor missile system into Gripen fighter aircraft.

The contract is for four years and is worth about $42 million.

Saab said the integration process will involve equipping the fighters with two-way datalinks, which will enable communication between the aircraft and the missile once the weapon has been fired, and the missile will be tested to work with the fighter's radar, avionics systems and displays.

The order includes test flights and test firing, as well as the integration of Meteor with support and maintenance systems such as simulators and planning computers.

The Meteor is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air weapon with an active radar seeker. It's made by MBDA, a multinational group with three major aeronautical and defense shareholders -- BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica.

"Meteor has substantially better performance than any other BVR missile existing today, which will obviously increase Gripen's ability to defend against other aircraft," says Lennart Sindahl, head of Saab's aeronautics business unit. "The fact that Gripen is also being used internationally as an airborne platform in the development of Meteor shows that we have a technical level in Sweden that few other countries can match."

The Gripen has been used since 2006 as the test aircraft for the development of Meteor.

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