The F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet has successfully conducted its first firing trials of the MBDA
Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM).
The trials are the first time a British-designed missile has been fired from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,
and the first time any non-US missile has been fired from the aircraft.
Conducted from both Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base in the USA, the
effort has seen both flight trials and air-launched firings of the ASRAAM successfully take place.
MBDA is currently under contract, awarded in 2016, to produce the highly capable infra-red (IR)
guided air-to-air missile for the UK’s F-35s. ASRAAM’s large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic
design gives it a high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance compared
with other countries’ in-service IR missiles.
The trials were conducted by the integrated test teams at Patuxent and Edwards, which include
Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, MBDA and Northrop Grumman.
The development trials work is being conducted under the integration programme for ASRAAM onto
the UK’s F-35 aircraft. This effort is currently progressing to plan and these integration activities will
allow the Initial Operating Capability of the aircraft by the UK.
MBDA is also under contract for the ASRAAM Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) to build
replenishment missiles for the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The CSP effort makes
use of ASRAAM’s commonality with the CAMM missile family, also being bought by the Royal Navy
and British Army, to deliver extensive cost savings across the UK Armed Forces.