New missile contract for Wildcat
Today, 16 June, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, has announced that a new £48m contract to design and manufacture future anti-surface guided weapons (light) (FASGW(L)) missiles will protect more than 60 jobs at the Thales factory in Belfast.
The contract covers the development, qualification and integration of the FASGW(L) system – which comprises a five barrel launcher and a laser guidance system – for the Agusta Westland AW159 Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, and provision of deployable test equipment.
FASGW(L) is designed to use Thales’s versatile Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM). LMM is a precision strike missile that can be fired from a variety of land, sea and airborne tactical platforms. It will provide the Royal Navy with a versatile, rapidly-deployable and highly-effective capability to defeat the threat from small ships and inshore attack craft.
The Minister made the announcement during a visit to Thales’s Belfast facility, where both LMM and the FASGW equipment will be manufactured. This significant contract will sustain up to 60 jobs at the site and will provide additional opportunities for the supply chain partners in the UK and overseas.
This contract is great news for Thales and Northern Ireland. The 60 jobs sustained represent experts in Advanced Weapons system design and manufacturing, and I am pleased that a similar number of jobs will be sustained throughout the programme’s supply chain.
I want to give the Armed Forces the battle-winning equipment they deserve, and this highly complex weapon system will provide Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters with unparalleled strike capabilities. I take great pride that these missiles are being made in the United Kingdom”
Philip Dunne, Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology.
Accompanied by Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK, and David Beatty, Vice President of Advanced Weapon Systems for Thales UK, the Minister was given a tour of the Belfast facility and a briefing on the technologies, products and capabilities at the site.
Victor Chavez said, “Some 450 of Thales’s 7,500 UK workforce are based at the Belfast site and we are proud that the company is an important source of high-technology and highly-skilled employment in the region. We are delighted with this award of the FASGW(L) contract as it will deliver a leading-edge weapons capability to the Royal Navy to defeat conventional and asymmetric threats.”
“Thales’s LMM is the first lightweight missile in the world to be designed to integrate onto tactical air, land and naval platforms and there is much global interest in the capabilities it can deliver. This contract award will provide a great boost for our overseas prospects, as it shows the trust that MOD UK has placed in Thales to deliver this new advanced weapon system”.
Link to article on Wildcat visiting HMS Illustrious.