MBDA Consortium to Produce Aster Missile for UK

A team led by MBDA and the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) has signed a contract amendment to produce Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles for the UK Ministry of Defence.

The agreement follows an initial contract for 300 million pounds ($371 million) signed by the UK, France, and Italy in May.

Used by French and Italian forces, the Aster weapon system will be converted into maritime missile variants for the UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers, enhancing the fleet’s capability to identify and engage anti-ship ballistic threats.

Tri-National Milestone

The amendment includes a logistics update and software development to transition the Aster 30 warheads to UK naval standards.

HMS Dragon Type 45 destroyer
The UK Royal Navy’s HMS Dragon Type 45 destroyer, August 2011. Image: UK MoD/Crown copyright/OGL

Work for the munitions assembly will be conducted at the UK Defence Munition Gosport in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

“This programme further strengthens the long-lasting relationship and strategic cooperation between France, Italy and the UK in the ammunition domain and paves the way for future Tri-National achievements and partnership opportunities,” a statement from OCCAR said.

‘Improving Cutting-Edge Technology’

The Type 45 destroyers will be the first to use the Aster 30 maritime variants. The fleet conducts missions including air defense, counter-piracy, and humanitarian aid.

Alongside the weapon system modernization, the vessels will receive upgrades to their BAE Systems SAMPSON multi-function radars and Sea Viper command and control system.

“As we face global uncertainty, alliances and greater defensive capability are more important than ever,” UK Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin explained during the initial missile contract signing.

“Joining our French and Italian counterparts will see us collectively improve the cutting-edge technology our armed forces possess.”

“It is another example of us delivering on the commitments from the Defence Command Paper, helping protect our service personnel when faced with the most severe threats.”

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