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MBDA’s SPEAR-EW funding increased

MBDA’s SPEAR air-ground weapon (above) and the derived SPEAR-EW (top). Images: MBDA

MBDA has received additional funding from the UK Ministry of Defence to accelerate the development of the SPEAR-EW stand-in jammer. SPEAR-EW, which is derived from the company’s air-launched strike weapon, is a novel Electronic Warfare (EW) effector designed to confuse and suppress enemy air defence, protecting friendly forces and acting as a significant force multiplier.

The SPEAR-EW utilises the same airframe as MBDA’s SPEAR miniature cruise missile being manufactured for the Royal Air Force (RAF). This commonality has reduced the development costs for SPEAR-EW and is also enabling a joint integration/launcher solution, reducing the logistics burden and offering a high load-out potential, the company says. The additional Rapid Design Phase funding will accelerate SPEAR-EW’s development, maturing all its key sub-systems, and perform mission and planning evaluation.

“SPEAR-EW will be a true game-changer for the suppression and defeat of enemy air defences,” said Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK. “As we have seen lately, air defence networks are exceptionally hard to operate against with today’s toolkit: SPEAR-EW is the key that will enable allied air forces to unlock this challenge and gain air superiority”.

The weapon’s electronic warfare payload is being developed by Leonardo and utilises the company’s Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology. This technology is mature, was proven effective in trials and will deliver the advanced sensing and electronic attack capabilities of SPEAR-EW. Operators will be able to use SPEAR-EW to jam enemy radar systems as well as deliver more subtle electronic warfare effects such as creating decoy targets to draw the attention of threat systems away from crewed aircraft or effectors.

Iain Bancroft, SVP Electronic Warfare at Leonardo UK, said, “SPEAR-EW will incorporate a world-class electronic warfare payload, designed and manufactured here in Luton, UK. Based on our experience providing on-board jamming capabilities for the Eurofighter Typhoon and, more recently, off-board jamming in the form of our BriteCloud expendable active decoy, our technology can reliably beat current threats while remaining adaptable for the threats of the future”.

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