Meteor - 2 MILLION a pop!!

#1
This was on Flight International site.
So, this missile will cost 2 million quid a pop? Surely, advanced AMRAAM would have been way, way cheaper. Where's the super-advanced air threat that needs a missile better than AMRAAM? And this, my friends, is smart procurement.......
No wonder they wanted Sea Harrier binned - a fighter that carried AMRAAM and had a superb radar for years before Eurotrash flew.


According to the report, assessment work has "concluded that Typhoon's existing [Raytheon AIM-120] Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile would provide sufficient capability out to 2015," and adds that this is now "the earliest point at which the Department now expects to need the capability". Development work on the long-range weapon will conclude by August 2012, however.

In addition to the delay, a decision to also cut the UK's planned purchase of Meteor weapons to the minimum contractual level possible has resulted in a doubling of the weapon's original expected unit cost, to £2 million.

The NAO report also reveals an in-year slippage of six months to the planned in-service date for the British Army's Watchkeeper unmanned air vehicle system (below), citing "a delay in the availability of a suitable trials site". However, the system is still expected to enter service in December 2010, earlier than its original programme target.
 
#2
It's costing more because of a cut in numbers to be procured, if/when other nations buy it the unit price will drop, oh and we went with Meteor to give the EF a no US affiliated armament package to make exporting the bird easier
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
This could be why:

Meteor is an active radar guided beyond-visual-range air to air missile (BVRAAM) being developed by MBDA to equip the Eurofighter Typhoons of the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF), Germany's Luftwaffe, Spain's Ejército del Aire and Italy's Aeronautica Militare Italiana, the F-35 of the British Royal Navy, the Dassault Aviation Rafales of France's Armée de l'Air and the Saab Gripens of Sweden's Flygvapnet. When it enters service with the RAF in 2013, Meteor will offer a multi-shot capability against long range maneuvering targets in a heavy electronic countermeasures (ECM) environment. According to MBDA, Meteor has three to six times the kinematic performance of current air/air missiles of its type. The key to Meteor’s outstanding performance is throttleable ducted rocket (ramjet) manufactured by Bayern-Chemie/Protac (BC) of Germany.[3]
So, potentially much better performance than current missiles . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . and the EU requirement for buying EU-sourced military hardware might play a factor in this too - that and sharing the development and production costs.

Most of the missile components are made by EU manufacturers.

Not to mention:

Although no detailed performance requirements have been publicly released they were understood to demand launch success and no-escape zones three times those of the then state-of-the-art medium-range missile, the Hughes (now Raytheon) AMRAAM. The missile external geometry would be constrained by the need for compatibility with Eurofighter's semi-recessed underfuselage eject launchers which had been sized for AMRAAM.[8] Key features of the requirement included "stealthy launch, enhanced kinematics, which will provide the missile with sufficient energy to chase and destroy a highly agile manoeuvring target, robust performance in countermeasures and the ability for the launch aircraft to fire and disengage at the earliest opportunity thus enhancing aircraft survivability".[9] These requirements were largely shaped by the perceived threat posed by advanced versions of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker armed with extended range ramjet powered versions of the R-77 missile.
 
#4
God bless the war on terror, keeping defence contractors in work for some years to come.
 
#5
Clearly we will need this ASAP with the amount of aerial dogfights we are having :roll:
 
#6
I wonder how the new missile will stack up against the upgraded version of the AIM-120 that's being fiddled with? Either way... it's a good thing no protracted wars against an equally industrial opponent are in the works.
 
#7
Just what was needed for the Cold War and European Gaps. Bit OTT for a couple of dozen guys in turbans hiding behind a class of school-kids?
 
#8
Bit of devils advocate:

What about when we invade Iran? What about a resurgent Russia? China? France?
 
#9
box-of-frogs said:
Bit of devils advocate:

What about when we invade Iran? What about a resurgent Russia? China? France?
What about an attack from aliens? Giant flies? Spending on risk management is interesting but threat has to be set against cost - surely?
 
#10
Giant flies? Isn't that what we've got Rapier for?
 
#12
Personally, I'd rather buy the AMRAAM or AIM-120 from the septics, live with the reduced capability and spend the spare cash on more Hellfire missiles instead. Apart from the R&D savings due to not having to re-invent the wheel and the logistical benefits of being able to use USAF munitions, as Dingerr says we aren't having too many dogfights right now, and if the situation changes in the future you can bet the RAF will fight tooth and nail to be fighting with the USAF with its AWACS, tankers and UAV capabilities.
 
#13
Biped said:
This could be why:

Meteor is an active radar guided beyond-visual-range air to air missile (BVRAAM) being developed by MBDA to equip the Eurofighter Typhoons of the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF), Germany's Luftwaffe, Spain's Ejército del Aire and Italy's Aeronautica Militare Italiana, the F-35 of the British Royal Navy, the Dassault Aviation Rafales of France's Armée de l'Air and the Saab Gripens of Sweden's Flygvapnet. When it enters service with the RAF in 2013, Meteor will offer a multi-shot capability against long range maneuvering targets in a heavy electronic countermeasures (ECM) environment. According to MBDA, Meteor has three to six times the kinematic performance of current air/air missiles of its type. The key to Meteor’s outstanding performance is throttleable ducted rocket (ramjet) manufactured by Bayern-Chemie/Protac (BC) of Germany.[3]
I must say I like the idea of a missile that can put on a kinematic performance. Is it available in Panavision(tm)?
 
#14
Bravo_Zulu said:
Personally, I'd rather buy the AMRAAM or AIM-120 from the septics, live with the reduced capability and spend the spare cash on more Hellfire missiles instead. Apart from the R&D savings due to not having to re-invent the wheel and the logistical benefits of being able to use USAF munitions, as Dingerr says we aren't having too many dogfights right now, and if the situation changes in the future you can bet the RAF will fight tooth and nail to be fighting with the USAF with its AWACS, tankers and UAV capabilities.
But in 5 years time? Far too many people on here treat capabilities not currently in use as surplus to requirement.

After all, we're not engaged in AS warfare so lets scrap all the ASW platforms....and promptly run out of food, fuel and ammo within 2 days of warfare against an enemy sailing around with Old school Kilos across our LOS...........

Not forgetting the joys of flying into KAF in Tristars as Chinese J7's go dogfighting all over them.......

Just because it's not happening right now, doesn't mean we wouldn't need it in 5 years time, and I'd rather be able to build in here, than hope the LOS from the USA isn't cut by subs in the Mid Atlantic......
 
#15
Kitmarlowe said:
Bravo_Zulu said:
Personally, I'd rather buy the AMRAAM or AIM-120 from the septics, live with the reduced capability and spend the spare cash on more Hellfire missiles instead. Apart from the R&D savings due to not having to re-invent the wheel and the logistical benefits of being able to use USAF munitions, as Dingerr says we aren't having too many dogfights right now, and if the situation changes in the future you can bet the RAF will fight tooth and nail to be fighting with the USAF with its AWACS, tankers and UAV capabilities.
But in 5 years time? Far too many people on here treat capabilities not currently in use as surplus to requirement.

After all, we're not engaged in AS warfare so lets scrap all the ASW platforms....and promptly run out of food, fuel and ammo within 2 days of warfare against an enemy sailing around with Old school Kilos across our LOS...........

Not forgetting the joys of flying into KAF in Tristars as Chinese J7's go dogfighting all over them.......

Just because it's not happening right now, doesn't mean we wouldn't need it in 5 years time, and I'd rather be able to build in here, than hope the LOS from the USA isn't cut by subs in the Mid Atlantic......
Seconded. Many of the denigrators of systems which apparently have no "current or apparent use in the near or foreseeable future" are the ones who also point out we were nearly caught with our pants down in 1939 because we weren't going to have a war for 10 years and loudly praise Churchill.

We won't have a nice buildup period come the next big one. :idea:
 
#16
This is the usual debate as to whether we retain suitable capabilities to fight the war or a war. If the former, lets reduce the UK military to a COIN force now. If the latter then we need to retain wider capabilities so that when other threats materialise, we can cope with them at a basic level. The same debate could be had with ‘Meteor’ exchanged for ‘FRES’ or ‘T45’. Regrettably however, the majority of the comments above are somewhat predictable.

Codbutt et al should remember that ops in Iraq and Afghanistan are affected by factors which far exceed the boundaries of MND(SE) or Helmand. In both cases our insurgent opposition are receiving direct support from industrialised states with capable armed forces. You have probably failed to notice that many of the fast air providing CAS and ISR on current ops also fly with an air-air loadout. That is to discourage nations such as Iran from allowing their own fast jets to push over the border. In the context of Iraq, retaining the integrity of Iraqi airspace will increase in importance as we move to Strategic Overwatch at a time when the Iraqi AF has no combat capability.

Similarly, when RAF AT fly through Pakistan airspace to Kandahar, you would be surprised at how close they route to Iranian airspace and Iranian fighter activity. Imagine the political ramifications if a pair of Iranian F-14s or F-4s forced down a Tristar with several hundred British troops on board claiming it had 'strayed into Iranian airspace'. Sound familiar? It would be Ipodtastic for the Iranians! What happens when Israel attacks Iranian nuclear facilities? Almost certainly any such attack would be routed through Iraqi airspace, with or without that nation’s agreement. Where will Iran hit back? Coalition bases in Iraq or Afghanistan using missiles? Coalition warships in the Gulf using anti ship missiles? The Iraqi oil platforms in the NAG using missiles or fast jets? Maybe, just maybe, we may be forced to push a strike into Iran to neutralise that threat. That strike would potentially have to face F-14s, F-4s and a variety of advanced Russian double digit SAMs including SA-10.

Similarly, Pakistans future allegiances cannot be guaranteed and they are potentially one assassination away from a far more hard line Islamist stance. This is a nation which already has F-16Cs. Both Iran and Pakistan are likely to buy the Chinese J-10 fighters and PL-12 missiles in the very near future. The PL-12 is very much a match for AMRAAM.

I won't even start on those nations who have purchased Flanker variants with AA-10, 11 and 12.

But of course such scenarios would never happen in codbutts world would it?

Despite the cost hikes in Meteor due to the reduction in numbers, the European missile will probably not be that much more expensive for the UK in the long run than buying various AMRAAM upgrades. The US are anally retentive regarding AMRAAM technology and it has cost the UK significant amounts to fly our own trials to ascertain true performance and ensure correct integration on our AMRAAM assets (Sea Harrier FA2, Tornado F3 and Typhoon). Moreover, Meteor will prevent the US from blocking sales of European aircraft such as Typhoon, Gripen and Rafale. Ultimately, such sales are in our best interest because they lower the costs of upgrades on our own assets.

Retaining a credible air-air capability remains every bit as valid I would suggest to the long term war on terror as bipods for SA80 and Osprey for troops. The west has been very lucky to have enjoyed a favourable air situation or better in all recent ops and it is evidently taken for granted by many here. However, such superiority, once lost, is lost for a very, very long time.

Who here expected to be operating in Afghanistan ten years ago? The future is unpredictable and guarding against it is not cheap.

Regards,
MM
 
#17
I never said we shouldn't have a decent air-to-air missile - I think we should! I just wonder why we end up paying four times what the Americans will pay for theirs, at a time when we clearly don't have enough helicopters, which are pretty easy to get off the shelf tomorrow. I have a strong suspicion its down to the personal preferences of air marshals for fast, pointy jets, plus a lot of domestic industry lobbying. Meteor and Nimrod are just two of the worst examples of this.
 
#18
codbutt said:
…I just wonder why we end up paying four times what the Americans will pay for theirs, at a time when we clearly don't have enough helicopters, which are pretty easy to get off the shelf tomorrow. I have a strong suspicion its down to the personal preferences of air marshals for fast, pointy jets, plus a lot of domestic industry lobbying. Meteor and Nimrod are just two of the worst examples of this.
As I mentioned, I don’t think we will be paying that much more for Meteor in comparison to AMRAAM when wider integration issues are considered.

As far as the priority of rotary funding goes, I suggest you take it up with CGS. Since JHC was formed, the Army (via HQ Land) has held the budget for all UK Battlefield helicopters. Unfortunately, the Army has actually reduced funding priorities for Support Helicopters, a matter of considerable frustration to my own Service and the RN.

So perhaps it is a matter of generals preferring FRES rather than air marshals preferring fast pointy jets, particularly at a time when several of the RAF’s most senior officers have been rotary guys (including a recent CinC Strike Command)!

Regards,
MM
 
#19
rickshaw-major said:
Kitmarlowe said:
Bravo_Zulu said:
Personally, I'd rather buy the AMRAAM or AIM-120 from the septics, live with the reduced capability and spend the spare cash on more Hellfire missiles instead. Apart from the R&D savings due to not having to re-invent the wheel and the logistical benefits of being able to use USAF munitions, as Dingerr says we aren't having too many dogfights right now, and if the situation changes in the future you can bet the RAF will fight tooth and nail to be fighting with the USAF with its AWACS, tankers and UAV capabilities.
But in 5 years time? Far too many people on here treat capabilities not currently in use as surplus to requirement.

After all, we're not engaged in AS warfare so lets scrap all the ASW platforms....and promptly run out of food, fuel and ammo within 2 days of warfare against an enemy sailing around with Old school Kilos across our LOS...........

Not forgetting the joys of flying into KAF in Tristars as Chinese J7's go dogfighting all over them.......

Just because it's not happening right now, doesn't mean we wouldn't need it in 5 years time, and I'd rather be able to build in here, than hope the LOS from the USA isn't cut by subs in the Mid Atlantic......
Seconded. Many of the denigrators of systems which apparently have no "current or apparent use in the near or foreseeable future" are the ones who also point out we were nearly caught with our pants down in 1939 because we weren't going to have a war for 10 years and loudly praise Churchill.

We won't have a nice buildup period come the next big one. :idea:
I agree with your logic, however in this particular case, where the missile in question is so exceptionally expensive, I'm asking whether we can afford to spend the money on it. There's no room for half-measures; we can't just buy fifty, and when they're gone the RAF's left toothless; if we commit to this then it will cost a lot and where will the cash come from?

Personally I think helos along the lines of Apache, Chinook, Lynx and possibly in the future Blackhawk (see argument re. reinventing the wheel) offer the most bang for the buck, so to speak; whatever we do we are likely to need CAS from Longbows armed with Hellfire (which isn't cheap either at about £12000 a missile, or more like £40,000 if you believe wikipedia), whereas air-to-air missiles are useful for a limited form of war.

True, it is possible we could end up at war with a state which possesses a viable air force; I would guess that given the state of our forces and budget any government would be extremely wary of committing them to such a war, and even if we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow it will take years for the armed forces to recover from the strain placed on the system.

It's becoming apparent that with the budget we have we may not be able to afford to be world class at everything any more unless we cut our numbers so much that our forces become insignificant. The answer, of course, is to increase the budget; the chances of that happening with these clowns in power are low indeed.
 
#20
The chances of the defence budget being significantly and sustainably increased are zero, whichever group of clowns gets into power.

All three services have had unsustainable spending plans for nearly 10 years and only now, as several crunch decisions have coincided with operations have hard decisions actually been taken, not in a planned and pragmatic manner but in a backs to the wall 'shit what do we do now' manner.

We are running around constantly cutting numbers and capabilities of planned programme which always has the overall effect of making the whole thing more expensive in the long run yet neatly being poorer in spec. The reason for this is as you say, we are trying to maintain a balanced capability for every scenario and I agree that this is simply not affordable in the context of defence inflation, ongoing operations, recession and a Defence Industrial Strategy.

Re Meteor, we are where we are and have already sunk loads of cash in to the programme. We shoud see it through and get enough quantity to make sure it is meaningful. The places to cut are programmes which we are not as advanced but thats another debate.
 

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