RAF Typhoon aircraft will be armed with Meteor missiles from later this decade after an agreement was signed today by industry and the four Eurofighter nations.

During a short ceremony at the Paris Air Show, Defence Ministers from the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain witnessed a contract being signed between Eurofighter and NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) that will see the missile system integrated onto the aircraft.

The Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air missile, manufactured by MBDA, is a state of the art long range weapon that can be used against a range of targets. The missile will complement the missile systems already in use on the aircraft, giving pilots a greater choice of weapons depending on their mission objectives.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, who attended the signing ceremony on behalf of the UK said:

“This is a further exciting step in the planned upgrade programme for this impressive aircraft. The entire programme is a powerful example of European Government and industry collaboration in both missile technology and Combat Air Weapon System development.

“Meteor will provide the RAF with a world-leading air-to-air weapons capability and improve prospects for export of the Meteor missile and the Typhoon Weapon System.”

Typhoon is already delivering air defence for the UK and the Falkland Islands, and its ground attack capabilities were instrumental to allied operations over Libya. The RAF took delivery of its 100th Typhoon aircraft earlier this year.

Over the next ten years, the MoD is to spend £18 billion on Typhoon and the Lightning II F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, two of the world’s most modern and capable multi-role aircraft which will deliver the UK’s combat air capability.