Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 3 January that it has signed a contract with Raytheon Systems Limited (UK), valued at £250 million (€276 million) to support the fleet of SHADOW R1 intelligence-gathering aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Based on the Beechcraft KING AIR 200 platform, SHADOW is a highly capable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, which performs crucial intelligence-gathering on operations all over the world. Operated by 14 Squadron from RAF Waddington, home of the UK’s ISR fleet, SHADOW has been on operations above battlefields including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The newly-signed contract with Raytheon will sustain 200 jobs at the company’s facilities in Broughton, North Wales and hundreds more across the UK supply chain. Services will also be established at RAF Waddington, the home of the RAF’s ISTAR fleet, to ensure aircraft availability under the new contract.
“This £250 million investment will ensure the UK retains its position as a global leader in battlefield intelligence gathering for UK troops and our NATO allies. It is also great news for the economy through the safeguarding of 450 skilled jobs across the country, including 200 in North Wales, confirming the region as a UK centre of excellence for air support [….] The support contract will provide maintenance, airworthiness, design and supplier management services as well as modification and integration work which will allow SHADOW to be upgraded in the future,” said Raytheon.
“This contract award marks a key milestone in cementing the excellent partnership between the MoD with RSL (UK). It delivers vital ongoing support to operations and, crucially, enables future, rapid development of the SHADOW platform which will ensure the capability remains at the cutting edge of technology providing a world-class tactical ISR capability for the UK,” added Air ISTAR Programme Director at the MoD, Gp Capt Shaun Gee.