MBDA has been awarded a multi-million pound contract to support the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) advanced short-range air-to-air missile (ASRAAM).
Under the terms of the £40m contract, the company will provide support infrastructure and maintenance for the weapon over the next five years.
UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said: "ASRAAM continues to provide the RAF with crucial battle-winning capability for within-visual-range combat missions.
"This contract is more positive news for MBDA and the UK’s complex weapons sector.
"It will sustain a number of highly skilled jobs and is another example of the Ministry of Defence’s continuing commitment to British technology."
The contract is expected to maintain multiple positions at the company’s facilities in Hertfordshire, Greater Manchester and Bedfordshire, UK.
Manufactured by MBDA UK, the AIM-132 ASRAAM is a high-speed, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile designed to counter intermittent target obscuration in cloud.
Armed with a Raytheon-Hughes infrared seeker, the missile is a rival to the US-built AIM-9X Sidewinder, and is intended for use in the within-visual-range and beyond-visual-range arenas.
Having entered service with the RAF in 1998, the missile is also mounted aboard the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18 Hornets, and is also being integrated on the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
Image: An advanced short-range air-to-air missile mounted beneath the wing of a UK RAF aircraft. Photo: courtesy of RAF / MOD Crown Copyright 2014.