Weapon manufacturer MBDA wins £184 million government contract to supply air-to-air missiles designed in Stevenage

One of the UK’s F-35B Lightning II jets, as used by the RAF and Royal Navy, which will use the new M

One of the UK’s F-35B Lightning II jets, as used by the RAF and Royal Navy, which will use the new MBDA air-to-air heat-seeking missiles. Photo: Crown copyright - Credit: MoD/Crown copyright 2016

Weapon manufacturer MBDA has won a £184 million contract to fit the UK’s new supersonic stealth combat aircraft with the latest air-to-air missiles – which are designed in Stevenage.

Harriett Baldwin, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, with MBDA deputy managing di

Harriett Baldwin, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, with MBDA deputy managing director Keith Garden. - Credit: Archant

The contract is part of an overarching agreement between the Ministry of Defence and MBDA which will sustain about 400 jobs nationwide, including 200 at MBDA’s sites in Stevenage, Bristol and Bolton.

The ASRAAM heat-seeking weapons, designed in Stevenage and manufactured in Bolton, will be supplied to the RAF and the Royal Navy for their F-35B Lightning II jets.

Harriett Baldwin, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, said: “Wholly designed and built in the UK, this air-to-air missile on our F-35 aircraft will secure cutting-edge air power for the UK for years to come.

“This contract will sustain around 400 jobs across the country and is part of the MoD’s £178 billion Equipment Plan which is backed by a defence budget that will increase every year from now until the end of the decade.”

Harriett Baldwin, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, visits MBDA's Lostock site a

Harriett Baldwin, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, visits MBDA's Lostock site as part of the ASRAAM contract announcement. - Credit: Archant

MBDA’s deputy managing director Keith Garden, who is based in Stevenage, added: “The missiles built under this contract will ensure that the RAF and Fleet Air Arm aircrews will continue to be equipped with the best within visual range air-to-air missile in the world.

“This contract award is also excellent news for our engineers here in Stevenage who design ASRAAM.”

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The RAF is already using ASRAAM on its Typhoon and Tornado aircraft daily in its missions over Iraq and Syria as part of the NATO coalition operations against the so-called Islamic State terrorist group, also called Daesh.

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