The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £300m contract to sustain a key air-to-air missile used by RAF Typhoon jets, supporting over 400 jobs across the UK.
MBDA (UK) Ltd will design and build the new variant of their Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) missile, incorporating updated sub-systems into the current ASRAAM design. This will make it possible to upgrade the weapon system as necessary.
The eight-year contract will directly sustain around 200 highly skilled technology jobs across MBDA sites in Bristol, Stevenage, Hertfordshire and Lostock, Lancashire and the UK-based supply chain, with around another 200 supported in wider industry.
Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said:
ASRAAM missiles provide our Typhoon jets with battle-winning technology on combat missions, and these upgrades will help to make it a missile for the future, ready for use on our new Lightning II aircraft.
This contract is part of our £160 billion equipment plan, supported by a rising Defence budget. It will sustain hundreds of skilled British jobs and ensure that the RAF continues to perform at its very best.
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Chief of Materiel (Air) at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Air Marshal Simon Bollom, said:
Sustainment of the UK’s short range air-to-air capability is essential as it supports standing operational commitments such as the protection of UK airspace and any other air defence roles.
The contract provides the most cost-effective way of maintaining this capability and allows what is a very effective missile to be retained whilst ensuring continued compatibility with the aircraft we launch it from.
ASRAAM is currently in-service on Typhoon and Tornado GR4 aircraft, and will be integrated onto the Lightning II platform in time for first aircraft delivery.