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Alenia Marconi Details Seawolf Upgrade (Jan. 5)



The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has placed a contract valued at £260 million with the Chelmsford, Essex based Radar Systems Division of Alenia Marconi Systems.

The contract, which is the culmination of over five years Project Definition work in collaboration with the MOD, is for the update of the Royal Navy's Seawolf tracking and guidance system. Seawolf is the main short range air defence system fitted to the RN's Type 22 and 23 frigates and the update will counter new types of missile threats and extend the life of the system well into the new century.

Alenia Marconi Systems will act as Prime Contractor for the project. This major contract will last for more than 10 years. Development will be followed by installation and trials at two shore establishments and in the initial ships. On completion of first of class acceptance trials, the remaining ships will be fitted out in a phased programme. As a "smart objective" the contract provides incentives to ensure that the improved capability reaches the Fleet in the shortest acceptable timescale.

The Alenia Marconi Systems project team will be based at Chelmsford. The project will underpin the future for the 800 staff at Radar Systems Division's Chelmsford HQ both during the development and the ongoing support of the system in the future. At its peak, the project will provide employment for 250, and will generate around 50 new jobs. Production and trials will be carried out at Alenia Marconi System's facility at Broad Oak in Portsmouth where it will support between 25 and 50 jobs.

Alex Hannam, Managing Director of the Radar Systems Division, said "We are absolutely delighted to win this major contract which is vital to the Royal Navy's continued effectiveness and cements Alenia Marconi System's position as a world class supplier of naval radar system. As Prime Contractor, we have assembled a "best of class" team to deliver this programme to the Royal Navy and look forward to continuing to work closely with the MOD in the spirit of Smart Acquisition."

The award of this contract, and the recent orders related to the PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) for the UK's Type 45 and the French and Italian Horizon frigate programmes, confirms Radar Systems Division's position as the Royal Navy's major supplier of surveillance and weapon control systems. It completes a very successful year for the Radar Systems Division and increases the Order Book to in excess of 500 million pounds.

The Seawolf system, which has seen action during the Gulf conflict and the Falklands War, has been supported by Alenia Marconi Systems since entering service with the Royal Navy in the 1970s.

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260 Million Pound Contract for Alenia Marconi Systems