The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a £146m contract with MBDA for the modernisation of the Royal Air Force's (RAF) long-range, air-launched missile.

The contract will see the upgradation of the UK’s Storm Shadow and France’s SCALP missiles in order to keep them ready for operational use.

The planned upgrade is expected to keep the missile in service for the next decade.

UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “Storm Shadow is a proven and vital missile for the RAF, and this £146m upgrade will ensure it is always ready for whenever our Armed Forces might need it to defend our way of life.

“This contract is an important part of the government’s £178bn plan to ensure our armed forces have the right equipment at the right time.”

Work under the contract includes midlife refurbishment of current missile parts such as the turbo-jet engine, an upgrade of the navigational system, and replacement of items such as the cabling, seals and gaskets.

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"This contract is an important part of the government’s £178bn plan to ensure our armed forces have the right equipment at the right time."

Storm Shadow is a combat-proven, long-range, precision cruise missile, which is already in service with RAF Tornados and has been deployed against ISIS in Iraq.

The missile has been designed to target substantial buildings and structures, such as military facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields and bridges, which might otherwise require the use of several aircraft over the course of numerous missions, MoD stated.

The contract is expected to support around 60 jobs at MBDA facilities in Stevenage and Bolton, besides another 40 jobs throughout the supply chain.

Image: Two Storm Shadow missiles on a Tornado GR4. Photo: Crown Copyright.