MBDA working on new SPEAR-EW electronic warfare weapon

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spazsinbad

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Unread post12 Sep 2019, 05:06

MBDA working on new SPEAR-EW electronic warfare weapon
11 Sep 2019 MBDA PR

"MBDA has been awarded a contract to demonstrate SPEAR-EW, a new electronic warfare version of the SPEAR weapon system family on order for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

SPEAR-EW is being developed by MBDA in partnership with Leonardo to complete a wide range of Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) missions, under a Technical Demonstration Programme (TDP) contract awarded by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S). SPEAR-EW will integrate a cutting-edge miniaturised EW payload from Leonardo, which will act as a stand-in jammer to greatly increase the survivability of RAF aircraft and suppress enemy air defences, acting as a significant force multiplier.

Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “These state-of-the-art electronic jammers will confuse our adversaries and keep our pilots safer than ever in the air. Paired with the devastating power of precision Brimstone and Meteor missiles, our world-class F-35 and Typhoon jets will continue to rule the skies in the years to come.”

Mike Mew, MBDA UK Director of Sales and Business Development, said: “SPEAR-EW is a revolutionary new capability that, alongside the existing SPEAR3 weapon, marks a fundamental change in the ability of friendly air forces to conduct their missions despite the presence of enemy air defences. Our vision for SPEAR is to create a swarm of networked weapons able to saturate and neutralise the most sophisticated air defences. Adding SPEAR-EW to the family alongside our existing SPEAR strike missile demonstrates the principle of introducing complementary variants to the SPEAR family that will add significant capability and force multiplication without the need to repeat the platform integration. We have an exciting roadmap of variants, spirals and technology insertions in the pipeline to further enhance the family as we move forward.”

The core of SPEAR-EW’s payload is Leonardo’s advanced, miniaturised Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology, which offers the most advanced and future-proof electronic jamming and deception available on the market today.

The new SPEAR-EW will complement the SPEAR network enabled miniature cruise missile, which is designed to precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, while ensuring a safe stand-off range between the aircraft and enemy air defences. Powered by a turbojet engine the SPEAR missile offers over double the range, and a far more flexible operating envelope, when compared to a conventional glide weapon. SPEAR-EW utilises this long endurance through its capacity to be launched at enhanced stand-off ranges and loiter while carrying out its jamming mission.

The compact size of the SPEAR family allows four weapons to be carried internally in each of the two internal weapons bay of the F-35, or three per station on the Eurofighter Typhoon. SPEAR-EW will keep the same form and fit as the baseline SPEAR to enable a single integration pathway and launcher solution.

SPEAR family complements MBDA’s wider portfolio of strike weapons, filling the gap between the large and very-long range Storm Shadow deep strike missile and the highly accurate Brimstone close-air-support missile...."

Graphic: "The compact size of the SPEAR family allows four weapons to be carried internally in each of the two internal weapons bay of the F-35, or three per station on the Eurofighter Typhoon." https://www.mbda-systems.com/?action=fo ... t_id=17642 (JPG 2.1Mb)


Source: https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-releases/17630/
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eloise

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Unread post12 Sep 2019, 11:05

I thought Typhoon use quad pack launcher like F-35?
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Unread post12 Sep 2019, 11:10

eloise wrote:I thought Typhoon use quad pack launcher like F-35?

Triple-rack is the standard on Eurofighter thanks to Brimstone integration while quad-rack is the standard on F-35 thanks to SDB integration.
SPEAR-EW is only one of the new toys introduced by MBDA
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Unread post12 Sep 2019, 16:04

I may be wrong but the development of such weapon (SPEAR-EW) seems quite odd to me, specially in an "age/era" where the tendency seems - at least clearly to me - to develop wide-usage or "multi-role" weapons (the SDBII comes into my mind and/or cruise missiles such as the JSM are getting dual anti-ship and land-attack roles) instead or as opposed to developing very specialized weapons such as this SPEAR-EW.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post12 Sep 2019, 17:04

ricnunes wrote:I may be wrong but the development of such weapon (SPEAR-EW) seems quite odd to me, specially in an "age/era" where the tendency seems - at least clearly to me - to develop wide-usage or "multi-role" weapons (the SDBII comes into my mind and/or cruise missiles such as the JSM are getting dual anti-ship and land-attack roles) instead or as opposed to developing very specialized weapons such as this SPEAR-EW.

SPEAR-EW is a SPEAR missile with a jammer and no warhead, or you can call it a mininature MALD-J. The development of such weapon expand the roles of SPEAR family.
Gotta give it to the British, they make the F-35B truly versatile despite the small load out.
2*ASRAAM + 3*Meteor + 1*SPEAR-EW + 3*SPEAR simultaneously on one F-35B.
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Unread post13 Sep 2019, 00:54

eloise wrote:
ricnunes wrote:I may be wrong but the development of such weapon (SPEAR-EW) seems quite odd to me, specially in an "age/era" where the tendency seems - at least clearly to me - to develop wide-usage or "multi-role" weapons (the SDBII comes into my mind and/or cruise missiles such as the JSM are getting dual anti-ship and land-attack roles) instead or as opposed to developing very specialized weapons such as this SPEAR-EW.


SPEAR-EW is a SPEAR missile with a jammer and no warhead, or you can call it a mininature MALD-J. The development of such weapon expand the roles of SPEAR family.
Gotta give it to the British, they make the F-35B truly versatile despite the small load out.
2*ASRAAM + 3*Meteor + 1*SPEAR-EW + 3*SPEAR simultaneously on one F-35B.


Hmm, or a rack of Spear (or SDBII) in one bay, and a rack of SPEAR-EW in the other, in the hope of hitting 4 defended alerted targets successfully? Makes you wonder what F-35B EW/EA does, or does not do at that point, thus a SPEAR-EW was required to prosecute a target with an advanced (internal) small glide bomb, using VLO attack tactics?

Is F-35B EW/EA just self-protection,rather than a support to increase an SDBII's chances of homing success? Don't we 'know' F-35 EW/EA is more than just self-protection at this point?

I suspect SPEAR-EW is for enhancing Typhoon strike effectiveness as its approach and presence has already shown its hand to any GBAD systems - presuming the OPFOR EW systems are down and an F-35B attack will not be seen coming, but a Typhoon approach to launch will be tracked closely.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post13 Sep 2019, 01:03

Wouldn't the F-35B EW/EA alert the OPFOR though to the rough presence of an external aircraft ? Not really being stealthy if you are emitting.
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Unread post13 Sep 2019, 01:31

marsavian wrote:Wouldn't the F-35B EW/EA alert the OPFOR though to the rough presence of an external aircraft ? Not really being stealthy if you are emitting.


No, using stealth all the way past launch (alter jet orientation to face launching weapon bay away from closest ESM detected sensors) then observing with ESM to see if GBAD detects the weapon approach and begins to use countermeasures or engage them, then the F-35s light-up with EW/EA to support the weapon, once a point defense GBAD is already on to it. No good having superior EA systems on F-35s if not used judiciously at the right moments to increase chances of a kill with each weapon expended.

You have as much as 30 km to 75 km of standoff as your buffer so even if you (or the whole flight) go active with EA and the AESA providing unison-support for the weapon's attack, it's still brief and all jets will have time to regain VLO and have strong collective EA in self-defense to get out of the way of a launch, or for any 'YATO' warning that provides early-warning to go defensive with that particular jet, to break a lock.
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Unread post13 Sep 2019, 11:38

element1loop wrote:SPEAR-EW is a SPEAR missile with a jammer and no warhead, or you can call it a mininature MALD-J. The development of such weapon expand the roles of SPEAR family.
Gotta give it to the British, they make the F-35B truly versatile despite the small load out.
2*ASRAAM + 3*Meteor + 1*SPEAR-EW + 3*SPEAR simultaneously on one F-35B.


Hmm, or a rack of Spear (or SDBII) in one bay, and a rack of SPEAR-EW in the other, in the hope of hitting 4 defended alerted targets successfully? Makes you wonder what F-35B EW/EA does, or does not do at that point, thus a SPEAR-EW was required to prosecute a target with an advanced (internal) small glide bomb, using VLO attack tactics?

Is F-35B EW/EA just self-protection,rather than a support to increase an SDBII's chances of homing success? Don't we 'know' F-35 EW/EA is more than just self-protection at this point?

I suspect SPEAR-EW is for enhancing Typhoon strike effectiveness as its approach and presence has already shown its hand to any GBAD systems - presuming the OPFOR EW systems are down and an F-35B attack will not be seen coming, but a Typhoon approach to launch will be tracked closely.[/quote]
SPEAR-EW do the same task as MALD-J/X
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Unread post13 Sep 2019, 21:51

eloise wrote:SPEAR-EW is a SPEAR missile with a jammer and no warhead, or you can call it a mininature MALD-J. The development of such weapon expand the roles of SPEAR family.
Gotta give it to the British, they make the F-35B truly versatile despite the small load out.
2*ASRAAM + 3*Meteor + 1*SPEAR-EW + 3*SPEAR simultaneously on one F-35B.


Oh I see, so that's basically a decoy with jamming capability, right?

For some reason I thought that the SPEAR-EW did have a warhead (although I imagined, a smaller one) and thus it worked more like an ALARM missile (eventually being the ALARM's sucessor).

Anyway, I have a question about such missile/variant:
If this is indeed a decoy combined with an airborne jammer - which looks quite advanced (specially the jammer component) - and which is planned to obviously fly over enemy territory and as thus can/will eventually end up falling into enemy territory (or at least there's a very high chance for this to happen) and as such, isn't there a risk of enemy forces learning something from the missile's/jammer components? Or does it have some sort of self-destruct mechanism in order to counter such situation?
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post13 Sep 2019, 23:48

eloise wrote:SPEAR-EW do the same task as MALD-J/X

Image


These are very different capabilities though.

SPEAR-EW would have a flight time of a few minutes and very limited maneuver, other than to spiral-loiter as it descends over a pop-up with its effective footprint constantly shrinking as it glides lower. And is likely to be lower wattage and only able to address the system it was targeted toward, to meet a specific short-term need. I'm guessing that need involves having a cheap area-noise-maker and decoy/bluff which allows Typhoon to operate in an area for long enough to execute an attack before leaving the area before the SPEAR-EW is spent. And not just to assist a weapon to a target as the Typhoons could do this with their own EA and radars. Can't really see a tactical need for it with the F-35B though, except maybe to aid a larger attack on a cluster of targets.

But MALD can be a tactical decoy of course, plus pretend to be something else. But it's also shaped for low-observability to make it more difficult to engage if it were to detect a threat engaging it and stop emitting to go 'defensive', and break a lock against a system that's trying to engage it. Plus it could fly out of a threat area, or else to higher radius to observe from there, and gather ELINT, recon and then relay it plus targeting-data on what it found in that area. It can play tactical cat-'n-mouse games with threat systems for about an hour like that, constantly stirring the pot and shutting down, or else using EA plus maneuver and can scan and test out a large area. So MALD can do all SPEAR-EW does even when it just ran out of fuel, so (IMO) these are not really doing equivalent tactical missions prior. The SPEAR-EW would necessarily be much more narrow-focused on a specific attack or decoy task.
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Unread post14 Sep 2019, 04:36

It will be more than a cheap area noise maker

The core of SPEAR-EW’s payload is Leonardo’s advanced, miniaturised Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology, which offers the most advanced and future-proof electronic jamming and deception available on the market today.


It will also loiter

Powered by a turbojet engine the SPEAR missile offers over double the range, and a far more flexible operating envelope, when compared to a conventional glide weapon. SPEAR-EW utilises this long endurance through its capacity to be launched at enhanced stand-off ranges and loiter while carrying out its jamming mission.
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Unread post14 Sep 2019, 06:18

Removed
Last edited by element1loop on 14 Sep 2019, 06:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post14 Sep 2019, 06:31

That document / article cited above starts this thread.
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Unread post14 Sep 2019, 06:39

Spear-EW concept puts UK on the offensive
12 September, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle London

" ... MBDA describes the turbojet-powered Spear-EW as a long-range, high subsonic speed system capable of "false target decoying and obscuration jamming". Release weight will be less than 100kg (225lb). ..."

Image

" ... A ground-attack micro-missile weighing less than 10kg was also on show, intended to offer a cost-effective means of engaging targets such as unarmoured vehicles and concealed snipers. ..."

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ve-460827/
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