As many as 70 new jobs could be created at Raytheon’s special-mission aircraft facility in Broughton following a new agreement with the RAF to upgrade its fleet of Shadow R1 surveillance and reconnaissance planes.
The Broughton special mission aircraft centre will play a key role in the upgrade of Shadow R1 the RAF’s heavily adapted Beechcraft King Air turboprop aircraft.
There are currently five MK1 Shadow aircraft in service with 14 Squadron based at the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) hub RAF Waddington.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has committed to adding a further three Shadow R1 aircraft as part of its 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The RAF and Raytheon are now in the concept phase of Shadow ‘Mk 2’ under terms of new long-term support contract for the ISR fleet which also includes the Sentinel R1 aircraft.
An announcement on the agreement between Raytheon and the MoD for the first phase of an upgrade was made at the Defence & Security Equipment International event in London this week.
Under the terms of its new arrangement, Raytheon’s ‘centre of excellence’ at Broughton will “improve the design, modification, configuration management and support aspects of the Shadow and Sentinel surveillance platform which will secure jobs at the site.
To provide support for the ISR fleet, Raytheon moved into a second hanger at Hawarden Airport earlier in this year.
The Welsh Government has invested £1 million in the new ‘Hanger 119’ at the airfield, its expected the special-mission aircraft workforce will increase from 160 to 230 by April 2018.
Hanger 119 will foster the development of new, cutting-edge capabilities and ensure that the company will continue to make a significant contribution to the local economy, for many years to come, Raytheon says.
Image – By Jerry Gunner [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons