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Raytheon UK awarded £110m RAF shadow fleet contract

A £110m government contract has been awarded to Raytheon UK to boost the RAF’s shadow fleet.

The contract will see the fleet of six aircraft increased to eight, and the integration of the latest UK Sovereign Defensive Aids Systems.

Supporting 150 highly-skilled jobs at Broughton, including specialist aerospace skills and apprentices, and roles at Raytheon’s sites at RAF Waddington and Harlow, the contract will also sustain around 350 further jobs across the UK supply chain.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Our newly upgraded Shadow Mk2 aircraft be equipped with world-leading technology developed right here in the UK. This investment supports vital defence outputs and 150 high-quality jobs in North Wales.”

Based at RAF Waddington and flown by 14 Squadron, Shadow forms a key part of the RAF’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) force by gathering intelligence via its high-definition electro-optical and electronic sensors.

As part of the contract, the latest DAS will be installed across the fleet of 8 aircraft, increasing its ability to defend itself and operate in unfriendly airspace.

Shadow Programme Senior Responsible Owner, Group Captain Shaun Gee RAF said: “This investment will enable the Shadow fleet to be increased in size and equipped with the latest technology providing a key capability as part of the RAF’s next generation Air Force.”

“It is expected the first upgraded aircraft will be delivered to the RAF in June 2023, with delivery of the eighth Shadow R Mk2 aircraft before the end of 2025.”

Defence equipment and support (DE&S) CEO, Sir Simon Bollom, said: “This contract is the result of collaborative working between DE&S and industry and ensures the RAF has the world-class capability needed to protect the UK’s interests against ever-evolving threats.”

“The investment for an upgraded Shadow fleet forms part of the vision laid out in the Defence Command Paper, which is ensuring that the Armed Forces are prepared for new and emerging threats. This ambition is underpinned by a £24bn increase in defence spending over next four years.”

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