A French Air Force Rafale fired a METEOR beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) the same day as well. The test which took place at a firing and test range in Southern France involved experts from the defense procurement agency (DGA), the French Navy Naval Aviation Practical Experimentation Center (centre d’expérimentations pratiques de l’aéronautique navale – CEPA 10) and its Air Force equivalent.
The French Navy fighter used for the test was highly likely the (for now unique) Rafale M F-3R aircraft which was delivered in December 2018. F-3R is the latest standard of the Rafale, bringing a number of new capabilities including the integration of the METEOR missile.
According to MBDA (its designer and producer), METEOR is the next generation of Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) system designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat in the 21st Century. The weapon brings together six nations with a common need to defeat the threats of today as well as the future emerging ones.
Guided by an advanced active radar seeker, Meteor provides all weather capability to engage a wide variety of targets from agile fast jets to small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and cruise missiles. Meteor offers a multi-shot capability against long range maneuvering targets in a heavy electronic countermeasures (ECM) environment with range well in excess of 100 kilometres (62 mi).
The weapon is also equipped with data link communication. Aimed at meeting the needs of a network centric environment, Meteor can be operated using third party data, enabling the Meteor user – the pilot – to have the most flexible weapon system.