US defence firms fight over pounds 750m MoD order

A WAR OF words has broken out between two giant US defence contractors battling for a pounds 750m airborne radar order over who has better British credentials.

One consortium, led by Lockheed Martin, claims that 2,000 high-technology jobs and Britain's leadership in airborne radar surveillance is at stake, along with pounds 3bn worth of export business if it loses the order.

But the other consortium, led by its US rival Raytheon, claims that its bid will bring just as many, if not more, benefits to Britain and says it has signed up 85 UK companies as industrial partners.

The two consortia, and a third one led by Northrop Grumman, are bidding to meet the Ministry of Defence's requirement for an Airborne Stand Off Radar (Astor).

The radar system will be fitted into high-speed business jets and used to beam surveillance data back to military commanders at ground stations.

The Lockheed consortium, known as TeamAstor, says that it is offering a purpose-designed British radar built by Racal. Other companies involved in the consortium include Logica, Marconi Electronics Systems and Marshall Aerospace.

Keith Robinson, managing director of the Portsmouth-based Lockheed Martin's UK government systems division, said: "TeamAstor is a British team for a British requirement, ensuring the highest gains for Britain economically, technologically and operationally."

He said Britain would gain 2,000 direct high-technology jobs and a further 2,000 from exports and 100 per cent UK industrial participation.

All work on the radar would be carried out in the UK, enabling British radar technology to leapfrog the competition and ensuring the benefits of a pounds 3bn export market flowed directly back to British companies.

But the Raytheon consortium said it would also provide at least 2,000 jobs through its British partners while the aircraft it would fit the radar onto, the Bombardier Global Express, had a higher UK content than the Gulstream 5, which TeamAstor was offering.

A spokeswoman also pointed out that part of the Racal radar was being developed by Raytheon itself. "TeamAstor trying to wrap themselves in the flag is a bit rich," she added.

The rival bids are due to be assessed by the MoD's equipment approvals committee at the end of this month and a decision is expected by March.

The contract has a fixed price but the Raytheon consortium says it is offering a better deal. Raytheon says it will supply five aircraft and 11 ground stations whereas TeamAstor is offering four aircraft and nine base stations.

But TeamAstor says the first two Raytheon systems will be developed in the US, reducing the level of British involvement.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor