Technology

£98m Contract For Air Defence Missile Systems Extended

SHORAD is made up of missile systems that can intercept threats like fast jets, attack helicopters and unmanned air systems in seconds.

A £98.4m contract to maintain Short-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) for the British Army and Royal Marines has been extended by five years.

Belfast firm Thales UK won the initial contract in 2018, helping to modernise and develop the missile systems as part of the Future Air Defence Availability Project.

The extension is set to protect 119 jobs at the company and in the wider supply chain, the Ministry of Defence said.

SHORAD is made up of missile systems that can intercept air threats including fast jets, attack helicopters and unmanned air systems in seconds.

These missile systems can also be fired from three platform variants, delivering rapid potent attack capability.

This includes a shoulder-launch for single fire, a lightweight multiple launcher capable of firing three missiles via a tripod, and a self-propelled launcher, designed to fire up to eight missiles from a Stormer armoured vehicle.

A soldier from the Royal Artillery sets up a Lightweight Multiple Launcher system in 2016 (Picture: MOD).

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: "This contract ensures the vital air defence capabilities, capable of dealing with a multitude of threats, are maintained and readily available to deploy."

The £98.4m investment is the second multimillion-pound defence contract awarded to a Northern Ireland-based industry this year.

In January, Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast won a £30m contract for the UK's first uncrewed fighter aircraft.

Cover image: A service member sets up a number of High Velocity Missiles (HVM) across several locations in London as part of the 2012 Olympics security measures (Picture: MOD).