FARNBOROUGH, England, July 11 (UPI) -- MBDA's Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile has achieved initial operating capability aboard Swedish air force Gripen fighters.
Swedish company Saab, maker of the Gripen, together with the Swedish air force and Sweden's Defense Materiel Administration said the weapon upgrade, known as MS20, is the latest step in Gripen's process of constant capability expansion.
"After extensive testing by FMV and the Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation unit, all of the new MS20 functions including the Meteor missile are now fully integrated with Gripen," said Maj. Gen. Mats Helgesson, Chief-of-Staff of the Swedish air force. "The Swedish Air Force is now in its Initial Operational Capability phase with the Meteor. The Meteor missile is currently the most lethal radar-guided missile in operational service, and the Swedish Air Force is the only operational user so far."
The general was speaking at a ceremony marking Meteor's IOC with the Gripen at the Farnborough International Airshow in England.
The complete MS20 upgrade is now flying with Swedish air force Gripens and the enhancements will soon be implemented in the Gripens of the Czech air force.
The Meteor integrated onto the Gripen is a ramjet-powered, long-range air-to-air weapon developed by MBDA with Saab.
"Saab greatly appreciates our good relationship with MBDA both as a partner for Meteor development and production, and through our close cooperation on the Meteor integration program for Gripen," said Saab Chief Executive Officer Hakan Buskhe. "This partnership has been the foundation for the delivery and deployment of a superior missile product."