UK government signs £184M deal for F-35B ASRAAM missile

Image of an F-35B armed with AIM-132 ASRAAM missiles, during a Flutter mission over the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the 10th November 2014. Photo: Royal Navy

The UK Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with European missile manufacturer MBDA worth around £184 million to equip the Royal Navy’s new supersonic stealth combat aircraft with the ASRAAM air-to-air missile.

Designed and manufactured in the UK, ASRAAM is a heat-seeking weapon which will give Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy F-35B Lightning II pilots, operating from land and the UK’s two new aircraft carriers, the ability to combat air adversaries.

The contract will see MBDA manufacture an additional stockpile of an updated version of the weapon, allowing F-35 combat jets to use the missile beyond 2022. Work to integrate the new missile onto the UK’s F-35 fleet will be carried out under a separate contract.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin 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.”

Work on ASRAAM will be carried out at MBDA’s new, £40 million state of the art manufacturing facility that is nearing completion in the Logistic North commercial development in Bolton.

ASRAAM, which uses an infra-red seeker, is designed to enable UK pilots to engage and defend themselves against other aircraft. It is capable of engaging hostile air targets ranging in size from large multi-engined aircraft to small drones.

ASRAAM is currently in service with RAF Typhoon and Tornado aircraft and is being carried daily on missions over Iraq and Syria as part of the coalition fight against Daesh.

The updated missile variant being secured under this new contract is expected to enter service on RAF Typhoon aircraft from 2018 and on RAF and Royal Navy F-35 aircraft from 2022, when the current variant will be taken out of service.

Share this article

Follow Naval Today

Events>

<< Oct 2017 >>
MTWTFSS
25 26 27 28 29 30 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5

Maritime Information Warfare 2017

Maritime Information Warfare will focus on the growing need for navies to develop their information exploitation capabilities…

read more >

Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Technology

Over the past few years, maritime intelligence gathering and ISR capabilities have returned to the forefront of the defence industry…

read more >

Sea-Air-Space 2018

Sea-Air-Space is now the largest maritime exposition in the U.S. and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League’s mission…

read more >