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MoD bomb deal secures defence jobs

Two Royal Air Force Armourers work on a Paveway 2 laser guided bomb on a GR7 Harrier aircraft. Credit: PA

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a new £25 million contract for more laser-guided bombs, in a move set to secure jobs in the South East.

The additional Paveway IV bombs will be carried by Tornado jets in Afghanistan, and are also due to be carried by new Typhoon and Lightning II aircraft.

Used during last year's air campaign over Libya, the RAF precision weapons use GPS technology which allows the UK to conduct 24-hour attacks against a range of targets.

Aircrew have the ability to reprogram the weapon during a mission, allowing them to attack a wider range of targets.

The MoD announced a new £25 million contract for more Paveway IV bombs from Raytheon UK, securing hundreds of jobs.

It will sustain around 450 jobs at the firm's UK plants - 300 in Glenrothes, Scotland, responsible for the Guidance Control Section of the weapon, and 150 in Harlow, Essex.

The contract will also support jobs at Raytheon's subcontractors - Portsmouth Aviation Ltd, Exelis in Brighton, Chemring in Ardeer, Ayrshire, and Thales in Basingstoke.

This year, the MoD has awarded more than £100 million of contracts to Raytheon for around 1,600 Paveway IV bombs, a spokesman said.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said: "This highly sophisticated UK-developed and manufactured weapon is the backbone of the RAF's precision bombing capability.

"This contract to boost the MoD's weapon stocks will sustain hundreds of skilled jobs in the defence manufacturing sector in both Scotland and England.

"By balancing the defence budget, we are able to commit with confidence to equipment programmes which help to safeguard our national security."