7 Mar 03. The Rt. Hon. Lord Jones P.C. formally opened Raytheon Systems Limited’s new £3.5m ASTOR facility at Broughton, North Wales site during a ceremony yesterday. The event, hosted by Bob McIntyre, Managing Director of Raytheon Systems Limited, was being attended by a number of senior Government, Ministry of Defence and Raytheon personnel including Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement, Sir Robert Walmsley, Chief of Defence Procurement, Tom Culligan, Chairman & CEO of Raytheon International, Inc., and Jack Kelble, President of Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems.
Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL), the prime contractor, won the Ministry of Defence’s £800m ASTOR (Airborne Stand Off Radar) programme in 1999. Bill Crispin, DPA ASTOR Team leader said that the total value of the contract including Government Furnished Equipment and risk money totals £950m. Broughton is to play a key role in the programme and will be undertaking the modification and systems integration of both the aircraft and ground stations.
ASTOR utilises the Bombardier Global Express new-generation business jet as the radar platform to carry an enhanced version of Raytheon’s well-proven dual-mode Synthetic Aperture/Moving Target Indication (SAR/MTI) ASARS2 radar. By operating at high altitude, and at considerable stand-off distances, the radar platform is able to remain over safe territory while providing an excellent “look-down” angle of the area of interest. An aerodynamically configured development aircraft has been used to validate the design. The first ASTOR aircraft is currently being modified and integrated with the ASTOR system in Greenville, Texas, and will be delivered to RSL Broughton for operational evaluation trials prior to delivery to the customer in 2005. Integration of the remaining four sets will be undertaken at Broughton.
The work necessary to prepare the Broughton site included modifying a 60,000 sq. ft. hangar and constructing an adjacent project management building, which will be used by both RSL employees and Ministry of Defence personnel working on the ASTOR programme. Broughton will be able to accommodate up to three Global Express aircraft at any one time. Steve Lynch, the General Manager of Broughton said that the new site would have 80 employees engaged on ASTOR work with 40 being employed immediately.
Alun Fishburne, Raytheon Programme Director, ASTOR, told BATTLESPACE, “We have had a team at the L-3 Greenville site learning the aspects of the conversion work of the Global Express aircraft to an ASTOR platform. As part of this process we have established an ASTOR Systems Integration laboratory which will handle all the aspects of the key integration systems and software in the system. This knowledge will then transpose to Broughton which will be established as the centre of excellence for the four remaining UK ASTOR aircraft. In addition Raytheon has the Design Authority for the system which will be available to RSL, which will ensure smooth transition of any upgrade or improvements. RSL Broughton is already working on export enquiries from a number of customers including the NATO AGS programme.”
Bob McIntyre said: “This is a tremendously important day for RSL and, in particular, for our Broughton site. ASTOR will provide the UK Armed Forces with a powerful new tool which will provide a key element of the UK’s Network Enabled Capability.” He added, “A large number of people have helped make this day possible, not least the Rt. Hon. Lord Jones who has tirelessly supported Broughton’s role in the ASTOR programme. I am delighted that he is able to perform the opening ceremony today.”
The programme will entail considerable technology transfer from the US to the UK. Five Bombardier Global Express aircraft will be modified to carry the ASTOR mission system. The first is currently undergoing conversion and integration in Greenville, Texas. The remaining four, of which the first has now arrived at Broughton,