MUSCAT: British aerospace and defence giant BAE Systems announced Sunday it has won a contract to supply Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS) to Oman's Royal Air Force.

The fully digital intelligence gathering system will “replace the wet film system currently used by the Royal Air Force of Oman,” BAE Systems said in a statement.

“By integrating all elements of a sophisticated reconnaissance capability, we are providing the Royal Air Force of Oman with a fully integrated, flight proven, broad reconnaissance capability, in a flexible, user-oriented system,” said Kareem Chaudhry, BAE Systems' Director Oman.

“This contract underlines BAE Systems long-standing commitment to supplying and supporting the latest military systems to help ensure the Sultanate's security and safety,” he said.

The airborne system, which can be deployed on a variety of military aircraft, “will enhance coalition operations in the region” and is compatible with US and many NATO reconnaissance ground interpretation systems, the statement said.

Oman sealed an agreement in 2002 to buy 16 Super Lynx combat helicopters from Britain's GKN Westland.

In 1997, Oman signed a 64-million-dollar contract with London to update 16 Jaguar aircraft, the core of the sultanate's air force of 40 combat planes.

In May 1999, Oman also signed with Britain's Alenia Marconi for a new radar and pre-alert system as well as the modernisation of air force communications.

Oman and Britain staged massive joint military exercises that involved more than 30,000 soldiers in the Gulf state in October 2001.