Hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the British defence industry have been secured by a £25m contract for Paveway IV precision weapons for the RAF.
The MOD has agreed to purchase additional Paveway IV bombs from Raytheon UK. These weapons are to be carried by our Tornados in Afghanistan and will also provide a key capability to be carried by the Typhoon and Lightning II aircraft.
The contract announced today will sustain around 450 jobs at Raytheon UK's plants. It will secure 300 highly skilled defence sector jobs in Glenrothes, Scotland, and 150 in Harlow, Essex. It will also sustain a number of jobs at Raytheon's subcontractors - Portsmouth Aviation Ltd, Exelis in Brighton, Chemring in Ardeer and Thales in Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Paveway IV proved highly effective during the 2011 air campaign over Libya. Its global positioning system technology gives the UK the capability to conduct 24-hour precision attacks against a wide range of targets. Aircrew also have the ability to reprogramme the weapon during a mission, offering capability to attack a wider range of targets.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: "This highly sophisticated UK-developed and manufactured weapon is the backbone of the RAF's precision bombing capability. This contract to boost the MOD's weapon stocks will sustain hundreds of skilled jobs in the defence manufacturing sector in both Scotland and England. By balancing the Defence Budget, we are able to commit with confidence to equipment programmes which help to safeguard our national security."
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Baz North, said: "Paveway munitions have long been a success story for the Royal Air Force in terms of their precision bombing capability. The ability to operate in any weather means that we are able to support operations 24/7. Paveway IV weapons are a real asset, not only to the Royal Air Force, but also to Defence as a whole."
In total, the MOD has this year awarded contracts worth more than £100m to Raytheon for orders of around 1,600 Paveway IV bombs.