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Thales to produce new missile for UK Navy's Wildcat helo


The Wildcat maritime attack helicopter of UK Navy.

LONDON (BNS): The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Thales for designing and producing new light-weight multirole missiles for the Royal Navy's AW159 Wildcat attack helicopters.

The contract worth £48 million (US $81.4 million) entails the company to design and manufacture the future anti-surface guided weapon (light) [FASGW-(L)] system at its Belfast facility.

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 AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopter, and provision of deployable test equipment, Thales said.

FASGW(L) is designed to use Thales's Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) which is a precision strike missile that can be fired from a variety of land, sea and airborne tactical platforms, the defence firm said.

The new missile would be capable of attacking small boat, fast attack craft and other targets.

The FASGW(L) contract follows the contract award to missile developer MBDA in March this year to provide the joint UK/France FASGW (Heavy) capability, which will also be fitted to the Wildcat to defend against larger targets, the MoD said.

Together, the two new weapons will replace the current Sea Skua air-to-surface missiles.

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