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MBDA secures £550m MOD defence contract
MBDA has secured a £550m contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for production of the SPEAR missile system. Known in UK service as SPEAR3, the next-generation missile can travel long distances at high-subsonic speed and over the next decade will become the F-35’s primary air-to-ground weapon.
At 1.8 metres long, the missile system has a range of more than 140-kilometres and, powered by a turbojet engine, can operate across land and sea, day or night, to overpower enemy air defence systems, while the pilot and aircraft remains a safe distance away.
Guided firings of SPEAR will start within 18 months from a Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, with missile and launcher production beginning in 2023. The new contract follows the successful implementation of the weapon development phase contract for SPEAR placed in 2016 and the contracting of integration of SPEAR onto F-35 aircraft in 2019.
At the peak of the contract, 570 people will work on various aspects of the system’s development at MBDA, plus a further 200 along the supply chain. This will see the creation of 190 highly skilled technology jobs at MBDA in areas including system design, software engineering, seekers, and guidance control & navigation in Stevenage, Bristol and Bolton.
The contract forms part of the Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA), a partnership initiated in 2010 between the UK MoD and MBDA on sovereign complex weapons design and production. The PMA delivers world-beating military equipment for the UK Armed Forces and has secured over 4,000 UK jobs at MBDA while generating savings worth over £1.2bn.
Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “MBDA is delighted to receive this contract, it is the result of many years of hard work by our dedicated and highly skilled engineering team. Stand-off, network enabled and swarming weapons are a key part of MBDA’s vision – SPEAR is leading the way with these technologies and is the most technically advanced weapon of its type.”