The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has agreed on a deal worth £269m with Lockheed Martin for a new Crowsnest surveillance system, sustaining 200 skilled UK jobs.
At the Portsmouth Naval Base today, the deal with the defence company was announced to create systems that will protect the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are currently under construction.
The Crowsnest systems will be fitted in helicopters and will provide long-range air, maritime and land detection and tracking capabilities.
Minister for defence procurement Harriett Baldwin said:
Backed by our rising defence budget, and our £178bn equipment plan, Crowsnest will help keep our armed forces safe as they deploy in every ocean around the world for decades to come.
Crowsnest is part of the Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) programme, which will deliver two Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.
Lockheed Martin will be in charge of designing and developing the system, which Thales UK has been subcontracted to provide. Leonardo Helicopters will modify the fleet of Merlin Mk2 helicopters to fit the new systems, which will serve the Royal Navy until 2029, Thales UK said in a statement.
All together, the contract will sustain over 200 UK jobs in Crawley, Havant and Yeovil.
"To see this battle proven capability now transition into the future, to provide critical force protection to the Royal Navy surface fleet, including the UK’s new aircraft carriers, is a significant milestone," said Victor Chavez, chief executive of Thales UK.
The contract also includes £9m for initial provisioning of spares to support the Crowsnest system during training and operational deployment.
Chief executive officer of the MoD’s defence equipment and support body, Tony Douglas, said the contract highlights how the MoD can create a positive and collaborative partnership with industry.