An unprecedented response to an Urgent Operational Requirement has seen front line troops in Afghanistan benefit from superior levels of close air support within four months of the contracts being signed.
Harrier GR9A aircraft in Afghanistan are now equipped with a GPS-enhanced version of the 1,000lb Paveway laser guided "smart" bombs.
In response to an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for better aerial support in theatre, representatives from BAE Systems and the MOD met key suppliers in the United Kingdom and America and in just 10 days contracts were exchanged.
This new GPS precision guided weapon was developed by joining the body from a UK Paveway 2 and the Enhanced Computer Control Group from a Paveway 4. The hybrid weapon provides the GR9A with an integrated, through cloud, precision bombing capability.
The programme has been delivered through key partnerships between BAE Systems, the MOD, Raytheon Missile Systems, Portsmouth Aviation Limited and EDO-MBM, and involved integration of the new weapon, rig test, flight trials, weapon performance analysis and certification.
BAE Systems issued the Design Authority Operational Emergency Clearance Advice early, allowing evaluation and release-to-service within the UOR requirements. The strength of the partnerships has enabled this significant capability to be deployed in theatre four months from contract exchange.
Air Commodore Ian Thorne, Harrier, Jaguar and Survival Integrated Project Team leader, said:
"This represents a remarkable achievement in the delivery of this UOR given that the programme started in May 2007.
"Indeed, the project would have been unachievable without BAE Systems levering their considerable weapon integration and project management skills into this demanding endeavour.
"The IPT appreciates the efforts from BAE Systems that have made this programme a success, this co-operation has provided a significant increase in the military capability of our forces in operations."
BAE Systems' Andy Lavin, head of Harrier Aircraft Capability, said:
"Delivery of this capability has required all stakeholders to work together with a strong partnership being established.
"It is clear that, as the MOD and industry move towards a closer working relationship under the terms of the Defence Industrial Strategy, we can achieve more working together than we can individually - an important lesson as we move ever closer towards full availability contracting."
Raytheon's director of Precision Systems, Tobin Touchstone, added:
"The speed in bringing this capability to the front line is a testament to the excellent working relationship and edication of all stakeholders involved in the programme.
"The modular design of RSL's Paveway 4 and the early risk mitigation through common guidance algorithm development allowed the rapid integration of the Paveway IV Guidance Section with the UK 1,000lb Enhanced Paveway 2 and the Harrier GR9 platform."
Source: Rapid partnership paves way for superior air support in Afghanistan
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