Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin MP announced today that Lockheed Martin UK has been awarded a £269m Ministry of Defence contract for the CROWSNEST Airborne Surveillance Programme. The announcement was made during a visit to Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB), Portsmouth. The contract covers the Demonstration and Manufacture (D&M) phase and Initial Provisioning (IP) of spares for the CROWSNEST programme.
Securing more than 200 skilled British jobs, both within Lockheed Martin and through suppliers, the contract follows an initial Assessment Phase delivered by Lockheed Martin UK with support from Thales UK and Leonardo Helicopters.
CROWSNEST is designed to provide early detection of potential air and surface threats at long range and will be relied upon to provide vital surveillance and intelligence to protect the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, currently under construction.
Under the CROWSNEST contract, Lockheed Martin as Prime Contractor, is responsible for the overall design and development of the CROWSNEST system, which incorporates an improved version of the existing Thales Searchwater radar and Cerberus Mission System onto the Merlin HM Mk2 helicopter fleet, producing ten role fit kits and full fleet modification to ensure that this key Royal Navy capability is delivered. CROWSNEST will be integrated onto the existing Mk2 Merlin platform ensuring the current capability is maintained.
Leonardo Helicopters is responsible for designing the airframe modifications and deployment mechanism for the radome, clearing the aircraft to operate in the CROWSNEST configuration and modifying all 30 Royal Navy HM Mk2 aircraft. Leonardo Helicopters will carry out the work at its Yeovil facility and at RNAS Culdrose.
Paul Livingston, Vice President and Group Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK’s Integrated Systems business, based in Havant, said: “We’re pleased and excited by the contract award and it’s come at an appropriate time. For us, it closes one Merlin chapter and opens another.” He continued: “2016 was the year of the Merlin. It marked the twenty fifth anniversary of the Merlin programme and we’ve successfully delivered the thirtieth and final Merlin HM Mk2 through our work on the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme contract. 2017 will be the year of the Carrier, as the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier comes to Portsmouth for the first time and begins sea trials. CROWSNEST will play an integral role in future Carrier operations.”
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