Raytheon E-Systems, the leader of one of two teams chasing the joint RAF/British Army requirement for an Airborne Stand-Off Radar (Astor), this week said two UK defence firms were finalists in a competition to provide equipment to transfer data between Astor-equipped aircraft and army ground stations.
Cubic Defence Systems, which Raytheon has chosen to organise the data link for its Astor offer, has picked Siemens Plessey and Ultra Electronics as finalists in the competition.
A final decision on which firm will provide the data link will be made in the next few months. More than 60% of Raytheon’s Astor solution will be manufactured in Britain.
Raytheon E-Systems’ Astor rival Lockheed Martin, said it has completed the design of its smaller tactical ground system for Astor, which will be installed in an Austrian Steyr 6×6 cross-country vehicle. This will equip Astor ground stations operating at brigade level, while a larger ground station will be installed in Leyland DAF trucks.
The Ministry of Defence should decide on the Astor solution next April. Both firms said that the MoD recognised Astor’s importance and it will not be cut under the defence review.