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.”
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.