The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) – the “science inside UK MoD” – has played a pivotal role in development of the SPEAR3 surface attack missile, according to a government statement on 20 January.

Dstl scientists have had an influence in all stages of development, and have completed a comprehensive analysis to establish the robust evidence needed to justify the capability requirement and to specifically inform the setting of key user requirements for Air Command. In the early days of the project, Dstl piloted a new way of interacting with industry, based on a close, joint working approach. The ‘SPEAR Green Box’ effectively fast-tracked the development of weapons concepts to meet the SPEAR Capability 3 requirement.

During the assessment phase, Dstl built an excellent relationship with the joint Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) and MBDA management team to ensure operational analysis and scientific know-how could continue to support the programme. Throughout the weapon development phase, and working closely with many experts across Dstl, the Strike Weapons team provided valuable technical advice to support DE&S and MBDA, including the assurance that the missile provides adequate lethality whilst minimising collateral damage.

Recently, the team has assured the technical content of the seven-year, £550 million (€622.5 million) contract for the demonstration and manufacture phase, and is now working with MoD stakeholders to plan acceptance and release-to-service activities, such as operational evaluation trials.

SPEAR3 will bring new surface attack capabilities to the RAF’s F-35 LIGHTNING II fleet. (Image via MoD)

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