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France's decision to go ahead and place a production order for the Meteor ramjet-powered air-to-air missile leaves the Eurofighter consortium waiting for its government backers to do the same.The Meteor commitments are seen as a potential boost in several export campaigns.Sweden, last year, was the first to move, with FMV placing a production order. Sweden and the Gripen already have a leg up on rivals, since the Swedish fighter is the test platform for Meteor. The missile is to be fully integrated on Gripen in 2013 and to be operational in 2015.(Rendering: DGA)France does not expect to receive the first of its 200 Meteors until 2018. That is later than expected and a reflection of the severe budget pressures the defense ministry is under. But from an export perspective, the commitment now is probably more important than reality. For Eurofighter, getting a similar commitment also is on the agenda, but the protracted talks with the core government buyers -- the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain -- leave the group trailing. Industry officials hope to get their buyers on-board this year.
ar99, tacair, MBDA, Rafale
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