MoD signs £184m contract to build state-of-the-art missiles for new Royal Navy jets

WORK to arm the Royal Navy's next generation of supersonic stealth planes is set to begin after the Ministry of Defence awarded a £184m contract for new air-to-air missiles.

Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 5:00 am

The F-35B Lightning II fighter planes will be used on the navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – which will both be based in Portsmouth.

The missiles which will arm the jets will be designed and manufactured in the UK.

The state-of-the-art heat-seeking missiles, known as the ASRAAM, will give RAF and navy F-35B pilots, operating from land and the aircraft carriers, the ability to annihilate current and future air threats.

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Tony Douglas, chief executive at the MoD’s defence equipment and support organisation, said: ‘ASRAAM will provide vital offensive and defensive options for UK F-35 pilots against a wide range of air-to-air threats.’

Harriett Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, said the build will support 400 jobs

ASRAAM, which uses a sophisticated infra-red seeker, is designed to enable UK pilots to engage and defend themselves against other aircraft.

It is capable of engaging hostile air targets ranging in size from large multi-engined aircraft to small drones.