Thales UK has received a contract extension from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to continue providing support for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance Mission Support System (ISTAR MSS).

The four-year award has a potential value of £29m and follows a similar five-year contract secured by the company in October 2005.

Thales UK military aerospace business head, Marion Broughton, said: ”This latest contract demonstrates the success of our long standing partnership with the UK MoD to meet the integrated air mission support challenges they face in all operational theatres.”

MoD UK sponsor Squadron Leader, Andy Coe, said the system provides mission planning, information management and information exchange in support of the military air operations.

”It is the UK’s mission support backbone that securely delivers mission critical information on a worldwide network to multiple aircraft types, command and control centres, and other MoD organisations, enabling them to plan and execute their missions in an operationally efficient, holistic environment,” Coe said.

”ISTAR MSS provides capability built on operational experience and is continually evolving to meet emerging and often urgent operational needs.”

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The ISTAR MSS is a combat proven system designed to provide support for the RAF’s current and future maritime reconnaissance, airborne early warning (AEW) and ISTAR missions.

The system was initially developed for air-platform mission support, but was subsequently adopted by other units, including those involved in command and control, security and intelligence operations.

Featuring a fully automated data management capability, ISTAR MSS allows rapid deployment and subsequent support of multiple aircraft types and vehicles, reducing the MoD’s manpower requirements and logistic support costs.

ISTAR MSS is also equipped with an accredited security solution to enable use by a range of personnel in a coalition environment.