RAF Coningsby, UK – BAE Systems has successfully delivered a crucial element in the Typhoon Availability Service (TAS) in partnership with the UK Royal Air Force (RAF), giving key weapons systems support — vital to maintaining the RAF’s front-line capability.
The formal acceptance of the Weapons Systems Support Rig (WSSR) by the UK RAF is a significant milestone for the joint Typhoon aircraft team, which also marks the one-year anniversary since the official in-service date of the TAS.
The rig at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire is the size of two tennis courts containing 33 benches and 24 pieces of rig support equipment. This capability was designed, developed and delivered by the BAE Systems team at Warton, Lancashire. It has been through an extensive period of installation, testing and qualification and is now being used to validate mission data and evaluate any avionic issues in support of the operational fleet.
Terry Butchart, BAE Systems’ TAS WSSR manager said: “The delivery and official customer acceptance of the rig underlines the Company’s capabilities in the area of readiness and sustainment and is the latest in a number of milestones achieved as part of the TAS contract in the past year.
“Over the past months, we have been working very closely with the UK RAF to ensure that we deliver the electronic warfare capability. It is now our task to make sure that the rig is there for the customer whenever they require it. Other vital benefits of the rig are the savings and efficiencies it delivers, particularly through the reduction of test flights required and, unnecessary removal and testing of equipment.”
Flight Lieutenant Shaun Bates added: “We are now able to improve the effectiveness of Typhoon mission data in a safe, controlled environment. Undertaking flight trials is not always the most cost-effective way of proving the effectiveness of aircraft software and mission data. The WSSR de-risks these trials and gives the Typhoon Force confidence that the improvements will function as designed.”
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).
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Notes to editors:
• The TAS contract to the value of £430m was awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) in 2009 under a partnering arrangement. It ensures the RAF’s Typhoon aircraft are maintained and supported by BAE Systems for five years.
• The TAS, which is currently in operations at RAF Coningsby in East Lincolnshire, sees both BAE Systems and RAF personnel working side-by-side over to ensure the availability of the Typhoon fleet to meet its standing and operational commitments.
• Another key requirement underpinning the TAS is for a reduction of Typhoon support costs over the lifetime of the jet. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Defence a range of innovative support solutions has been identified to maximise value and minimise costs.