A series of new contracts and agreements marking key steps towards the MoD's next generation of aircraft and air-launched weapons has been announced.
In a move that will see industry work together on the development of the UK’s air-launched weapons, known as Complex Weapons, the Defence Secretary announced that the MoD has entered into an interim Partnering Agreement with MBDA in the UK.
Building on the successful Assessment Phase, this co-operation within industry will help shorten the time from development to delivery of these weapons. The MoD has also signed a £120m contract with BAE Systems to maintain the UK’s Hawk T Mk2 aircraft, known as the Advanced Jet Trainer, an aircraft essential for providing the modern training of fast jet pilots.
Progress is also being made towards the delivery of 22 new Chinook helicopters, and the MoD has signed a contract with Boeing to begin the work necessary to deliver the first ten aircraft in 2012 and 2013. The MoD has also moved a step closer to its next generation of military transport aircraft, the A400M. Following discussions between Partner Nations and Airbus Military, an agreement in principle has been reached to pave the way for the next stage of the programme.
The A400M Partner Nations have reached a Heads of Terms agreement with Airbus Military, which will provide the basis for a formal contract amendment in the coming months. Under the revised agreement, Airbus Military will deliver at least 22 aircraft.
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth, said: “These commitments will enable the Royal Air Force to continue to provide essential airpower on operations. These projects demonstrate the MOD’s commitment to providing our Armed Forces with world class equipment and support, as well as to sustaining the UK’s defence industry. I am greatly encouraged by the progress made on the A400M programme.”