The UK defense ministry has awarded Thales UK a £98.4 million (approx. $137.4M) contract for the maintenance of the short-range air defense (SHORAD) systems for the British Army and Royal Marines.
The contract will provide availability and support to the UK’s STARStreak and the new lightweight multi-role missile SHORAD ground based air defense (GBAD) systems, as well as support to live firing training activities at the Royal Artillery Range out to 2026.
SHORAD is made up of high velocity and lightweight multi-role missile systems that can intercept air threats including fast jets, attack helicopters and unmanned air systems in a matter of seconds.
Thales UK won the initial contract in 2018, helping to modernize and develop the missile systems as part of the Future Air Defence Availability Project (F-ADAPT). This latest announcement confirms a five-year extension to the contract, sustaining over one hundred jobs at Thales UK’s Belfast site and within the wider Northern Ireland supply chain.
The Thales STARStreak SHORAD system entered service with the British Army and Royal Marines in 1997 and has three platform variants; shoulder-launched for single fire; a lightweight multiple launcher capable of firing three missiles via a tripod, and a self-propelled launcher designed to fire up to eight missiles from a Stormer armored vehicle.
“This contract ensures the vital air defense capabilities, capable of dealing with a multitude of threats, are maintained and readily available to deploy,” UK defense minister, Jeremy Quin commented.
“The £98.4-million investment is the second major contract awarded to Northern Ireland’s defense industry in less than three months highlighting Northern Ireland’s important contribution to the delivery of our critical defense capabilities.”