The Ministry of Defence has confirmed a delay in awarding the contract for its £750m airborne stand-off radar (Astor) programme.
This week it said it had requested `best and final offers’ from the two remaining Astor contenders – Lockheed Martin and Raytheon E-Systems. This would lead to `the announcement of an award next year’, an MoD spokesman said.Though the two Astor bids are led by major US defence firms, there will be significant British industrial input.
Racal Radar Defence Systems is providing the radar for Lockheed Martin’s bid, which also includes Marshall, of Cambridge, which would install radar and mission equipment.
GEC-Marconi is in the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon teams. Marshall is also involved in the Raytheon team, as is Shorts and Raytheon Cossor.
Astor is a joint RAF-British Army project intended to produce an aircraft which can identify hostile ground targets for the army and air force from inside friendly airspace. Five aircraft using modified business jet airframes and nine ground stations are supposed to enter service from 2003.