The Army is a step closer to receiving a new multi million pound air defence missile system, thanks to an investment by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
MBDA UK has been awarded a £36m contract to explore the capability that a Land version of the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) could offer the UK Armed Forces.
The company is already developing a similar system, known as Sea Ceptor that will be used by the Royal Navy. This assessment phase contract for the Land version will sustain more than 90 highly skilled jobs at MBDA’s sites in Stevenage and Bristol.
FLAADS is a ground based missile system that can travel at 1,000 meters per second and is able to simultaneously defend UK territories against a number of threats including jets or cruise missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.
The Army’s current air defence system, Rapier, which was used to defend London during the 2012 Olympic Games has been in service since 1996 and is coming to the end of its service life.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Philip Dunne said: “These missiles are designed to form a suite of battle-winning capabilities we are investing in. This potential land system is the next stage development of a maritime system which highlights the UK is a world leader in evolution of missile design and manufacturing.”
MBDA UK Managing Director and Executive Group Director Technical Steve Wadey said: “It’s the opportunity to provide an affordable, yet highly capable air defence system for both the Army and Royal Navy. By extending the FLAADS programme to land applications, the UK MOD is showing confidence in MBDA’s ability to maximise cost benefits for its customers through modularity and re-use of existing technologies.”