MOD announces landmark teaming with industry for complex weapons

15 Jul 2008

Team Complex Weapons (Team CW), an innovative partnership between the Ministry of Defence, MBDA (UK), Thales UK, QinetiQ and Roxel UK Ltd.

UK Minister for Defence Equipment & Support, Baroness Taylor, launches new procurement strategy for Complex Weapons
Team CW Teaming Agreement signed between MoD and industry (MBDA UK, QinetiQ, Roxel (Rocket Motors UK) and Thales UK)
£74M first year Assessment Phase initiated launching six new weapon projects

A new approach to purchasing the UK armed forces’ complex weapons took a step forward today with the launch of an Assessment Phase for Team Complex Weapons (Team CW), an innovative partnership between the Ministry of Defence, MBDA (UK), Thales UK, QinetiQ and Roxel UK Ltd.

Announcing the launch at the Farnborough Air Show, Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment & Support, said: “The launch of the Assessment Phase is a significant milestone in our work with Team Complex Weapons. We are embarking on an innovative approach to purchasing our next generation of missiles and guided weapons. Team CW will help to maintain the UK’s key skills and technologies in missile development and protect our operational sovereignty in this sector for the future.”

The Teaming Agreement, signed by all Team CW members, creates the environment necessary to develop a partnering approach to the planning and delivery of a long term strategy for the Complex Weapons sector in the UK. The Assessment Phase of the Team CW Programme will assess this radically new approach to develop and produce the UK’s military requirements for the next generation of missiles and guided weapons for the armed forces.

The Teaming Agreement will also initiate the transformation of the sector through the launch of six new complex weapons projects which are central to the long term future of UK military capability. These projects commence a modular approach aimed at reducing the number of different weapons in service by migrating to a smaller number of weapon families and variants with optimum modularity and re-use of subsystems and technology. This approach aims to offer a greater level of capability while achieving value for money for the MoD, maintaining operational sovereignty over the UK armed forces’ capability and the sustainment of sovereign skills and technologies.

The Assessment Phase, valued at around £74 million for the first year, launches the following six projects using two initial framework contracts let to MBDA (UK) Ltd and Thales UK:

Fire Shadow Loitering Munition (MBDA-led, with Team LM).
Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) for Royal Navy helicopters (MBDA) as a lead in to a 100Kg weapon family.
50Kg weapon family to meet Air to Ground Attack requirements (MBDA).
Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Light) for Royal Navy helicopters (Thales UK) as a lead in a light weapon family.
Future Local Area Air Defence System – Maritime for the T23 Frigate and the Future Surface Combatant (MBDA) incorporating the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile.
An upgrade programme for Storm Shadow (MBDA) currently used on the Tornado GR4.

The MoD is exploring with QinetiQ as the Team CW technology lead and others how to ensure the best support from the Research programme for the Team CW Agreement and contracts launched today, which is designed to create a comprehensive approach to delivery of the UK’s CW Strategy. Success of the Team CW Assessment Phase should lead to the majority of current and future UK Complex Weapons being included within the scope of a long-term partnering arrangement and enable the optimum use of approximately £6 billion expenditure in this sector over the next 10 years.

Rear Admiral Amjad Hussain, Director General Weapons for the MoD, said: “The concept offers the potential to bring new technologies to the front line more quickly than in the past and for these to be adapted to meet new threats through technology insertion and flexible production. Through the Teaming Agreement and the enabling contracts for the six projects, Team CW has been offered the opportunity to demonstrate its capability to work in a different manner and develop a range of products which can meet the MoD’s current Complex Weapons requirements and, importantly, can be adapted readily for those in the future.”

Steve Wadey, Industrial Chairman of Team CW and Managing Director of MBDA UK, which leads the Team CW grouping, said: “The formal launch of Team CW represents a radical and new approach to the delivery of battle-winning military capability to the UK Armed Forces whilst delivering benefits to all parties. Signature of the Team CW Teaming Agreement and the Assessment Phase represents the culmination of more than four years of intensive work with UK Government and the CW industry and we look forward to driving forward the industrial leadership, new behaviours and business transformation that are a pre-requisite to ensuring the success of this new business model and establishing a benchmark for future defence procurement”.

Complex weapons are tactical weapons reliant upon guidance systems to achieve precision effects. Tactical complex weapons fall largely into five categories: Air-to-Air; Air Defence; Air to Surface; Anti-Ship/Submarine (including Torpedoes); and Surface to Surface.

This announcement follows the statement in July 2006 where MoD signalled a new approach to fulfilling the UK’s military requirement for Complex Weapons in response to the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS), published in Dec 05, which outlined the need to retain UK operational sovereignty. The Assessment Phase includes the two contracts with MBDA (UK) Ltd and Thales UK and a linked legally-binding Teaming Agreement, signed by all Team CW members, and which will be used to refine and test the Team CW model.

Team Complex Weapons website

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MOD announces landmark teaming with industry for complex weapons