OK, so we all get defence equipment development is complex, time consuming and expensive but occasionally you see a news report about a contract that induces the kind of reaction usually reserved for when one of your kids asks for a pair of designer skinny jeans.
So it was the same reaction when it was announced at Farnborough that AgustaWestland had been awarded a contract to integrate FASGW(H) and FASGH(L) onto Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters
From their press release
AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that it has signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) valued at £90 million to integrate, test and install the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) Heavy and Light missile systems onto 28 Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters
Just drink that in for a moment.
Not to design and develop the missiles, not even to make them.
£90 million of the Queen’s Pounds to fit two missiles types to 28 helicopters.
Janes added a few more details
Flight and firing trials of the missiles from the Wildcat is scheduled to occur over a 12-month period from 2017-18 from ranges in Scotland, and possibly the Aberporth range in Wales.
300 jobs perhaps goes some way to explaining the cost but this is two missiles, one of them is physically very similar to it predecessor, the systems integration work is relatively predictable and the platform is low speed and therefore without many of the extremely demanding requirement of fast jets.
But hang on, there’s more
At Eurosatory Thales were awarded a £48 million contract…
The contract covers the development, qualification and integration of the FASGW(L) system – which comprises a five barrel launcher and a laser guidance system – for the Agusta Westland AW159 Wildcat helicopter, and provision of deployable test equipment.
Does that mean there will be another contract to MBDA for similar ‘qualification and integration’ for FASGW(H) or is that included in the recent contract announcements regarding the new Sea Venom, or FASGW(H)?
Just let that sink in for a moment and have a couple of nice graphics
Martin reminded me that news just out indicated a contract award for Storm Shadow Typhoon integrations at 150 million Euros, of £118 million.