The United Kingdom’s (UK) Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded MBDA a £184M production contract for the supply of the highly capable infra-red (IR) guided air-to-air missile, ASRAAM, to equip the UK’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet.
ASRAAM will be the first British designed missile to enter service on the F-35. ASRAAM’s large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design gives it high kinematic capability to deliver superior end-game performance compared with other countries’ in-service IR missiles.
MBDA is currently under contract for an ASRAAM capability sustainment programme for the Typhoon fast jet and this new order to equip the F-35 will see the production of additional missiles. Value for money is ensured through the re-use of components from other MBDA products such as the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), whilst also ensuring the benefits of a single IR missile across the fast jet fleet is retained.
The missiles will be produced at MBDA’s new £40M Bolton manufacturing and assembly site with engineering activities carried out at MBDA sites in Stevenage and Bristol. The overall ASRAAM programme, combined with associated workload around domestic and export programmes using the core CAMM system, is employing 400 skilled employees across the MBDA sites and the UK complex weapons supply chain. Collectively these orders also ensure that ASRAAM remains available for overseas customers and future exports.