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AgustaWestland wins £90 million AW159 Wildcat FASGW integration contract

Posted By Morris On 18 Jul 2014 in Defence and Security

AgustaWestland wins £90 million AW159 Wildcat FASGW integration contract
AgustaWestland has been awarded by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) a £90 million ($154 million) contract, at the third day of the Farnborough International Airshow 2014, to integrate the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) missiles onto the AW159 Wildcat helicopter for the UK Royal Navy (RN). The contract’s scope of work covers integration of both the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon Heavy (FASGW(H)) and FASGW Light (FASGW(L)) missiles on the Wildcat. As per the MoD’s update both the missiles should be in fully functional service with the RN’s Wildcats in 2020. The basic design review for integrating the missiles should take place in 2016, with the complete design review falling out in 2017, while flight and firing trials of the missiles from the Wildcat is expected to take place over a 12-month period from 2017-18 from ranges in Scotland, and probably the Aberporth range in Wales. An initial operating capability (IOC) with the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the RN’s Wildcats helicopters are likely to be accomplished in 2015, the helicopters will be in operational service for some duration without their new suite of weapons. The Army Air Corps' Wildcats will reach IOC this year. The UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne and Mauro Moretti, Chief Executive Officer of Finmeccanica signed the integration contract at Farnborough. A bilateral co-operation programme with France resulted in the development of the MBDA FASGW(H) (which refers to the missile as Anti-Navire Léger - ANL) to deliver an advance stand-off anti-ship competency to embarked naval helicopters, further with some land-attack capability. The ANL is signified to arm the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) under French Service. In RN service FASGW(H) will be recognized as Sea Venom, and will reinstate the old Sea Skua helicopter borne anti-ship missile. The Thales FASGW(L), or Light Multirole Missile (LMM), is a UK project to deliver a lighter missile to complement the FASGW(H), putting up a capability against fast inshore attack craft, as well as some air-to-air capability. In total 62 Wildcat helicopters for both the RN and the British Army has been ordered by the UK MoD, of which are allocated for the navy (Wildcat HMA.2) and 34 for the army (Wildcat AH.1). AgustaWestland have delivered 34 helicopters till date. The FASGW(H) missile weighs 100 kg and is navigated by an infrared imaging seeker, which even provide a fire and forget capability, while a two-way datalink offers a man in the loop capability. There is also a growth way to facilitate further target selections to the missile, as needed. The subsonic missile is equipped with a 30 kg warhead, and is understood to have a wide operational range in excess of 15 km. In March, the long-awaited £500 million contract by the UK and France was signed with MBDA to complete the development of and build the FASGW(H). The FASGW(L) is incomparably smaller than its heavier counterpart, weighing just 13 kg and will generally be carried by the Wildcat HMA.2 in packs of five on a single hardpoint. The same laser-beam riding navigation system as used in the Thales Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) are also incorporated with the FASGW(L), at the moment this is the only navigation option presently offered, the option of an infrared seeker is likely to be available in near future. The missile includes both a contact and laser proximity fuze, which permits the targeting of both surface and airborne targets as required. The weapon is loaded with a 3 kg dual-purpose, blast fragmentation and shaped charge, warhead. A £48 million contract was awarded to Thales UK for integration work and provision of FASGW(L) integration kits for the Wildcat HMA.2 by the MoD at Eurosatory 2014 in Paris on 16 June. According to the MoD, the integration contract will protect over 300 jobs in the UK.

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