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ASRAAM Block 6 on schedule for UK aircraft, says minister

26th October 2021 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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RAF Typhoons deployed on Operation Biloxi in Romania, May 2021. (Photo: UK MoD/Crown Copyright/SAC Ben Mayfield)

Advanced heat-seeking air-to-air missile to equip RAF Typhoons in 2022 and RAF/RN F-35s in 2024.

The MBDA-manufactured AIM-132 Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) Block 6 will enter service in the UK on the Eurofighter Typhoon in 2022 and on the F-35 Lightning II in 2024, defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin told MPs on 21 October.

In response to a question from Shadow Secretary of State for Defence John Healey MP, Quin added that the MoD incurred any extra costs on the air-to-air missile programme and ASRAAM ‘continues to be delivered within [the] Complex Weapons Portfolio contract price’.

ASRAAM is a within-visual-range advanced heat-seeking weapon to equip RAF F-35A and RN F-35B Lightning II aircraft with the ability to defeat current and future air adversaries. The missile is equipped with a 10kg blast fragmentation warhead and an inertial guidance system with IR homing.

In 2016 it was announced that MBDA will produce ASRAAM for the F-35 under a £184 million ($253 million) contract. MBDA is also under contract for ASRAAM capability sustainment for Typhoon.

In addition to the RAF, ASRAAM is in operational service with the Royal Australian Air Force on its F/A-18 Hornets and on Indian Air Force Jaguar strike aircraft as the New-Generation Close Combat Missile.

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