UK MOD announces new air traffic system led by Aquila is operational – sUAS News
The UK Ministry of Defense today announced that the new air traffic management system led by Aquila is operational. The MOD has a £ 1.5 billion contract with Aquila to transform air traffic management for the British armed forces. RAF Shawbury is the first air base to receive advanced technology.
More than 300 Aquila jobs are supported by the program, known as Marshall, of which 150 are in Fareham, Hampshire.
Designed to ensure safe and resilient military air operations, the contract will integrate and support modern and innovative equipment with existing infrastructure. Variants will be deployed to more than 60 MoD sites in the UK and overseas by 2024, including Cyprus, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.
The equipment enables controllers to have better situational awareness and improve flight safety, with digital upgrades including touchscreen communications, clearer radar images and flight information and a improved positioning, all of which will be available on enhanced controller consoles.
Around 300 jobs have been secured in Fareham and other parts of the UK since the contract was awarded to Aquila Air Traffic Management Services Ltd in 2014.
Defense Purchasing Minister Jeremy Quin said:
Ensuring that our drones, combat aircraft, helicopters and cargo planes operate safely and efficiently is essential to maintaining our capabilities and supporting our service personnel. This state-of-the-art system is another example of how we put innovation at the forefront of everything we do.
The £ 1.5 billion program, known as Marshall, delivers improved reliability, quality of service and cost savings by using Aquila’s engineering teams to maintain the equipment. The scheme is expected to save the UK taxpayer up to £ 317million over the next 22 years.
The air traffic system includes a £ 400million investment in advanced surveillance radars and a wide range of sophisticated equipment such as tower systems, new surveillance and navigation aids and radios.
Sir Simon Bollom, CEO of DE&S, the purchasing arm of MOD, said:
This is a key step in a program that is vital for frontline capacity. It is a prime example of DE&S, RAF and industry working together to provide the military with the technology needed to do their jobs safely and efficiently.
Squadron Leader Steve Leech, Senior Air Traffic Control Officer at RAF Shawbury, said:
As the first unit to transition to full operational service, the past year has naturally been a time of change that is both challenging and exciting. I am extremely proud of my team who transformed this state-of-the-art equipment into an operational capability.
Working in an increasingly close partnership with Aquila, controllers and rights holders now have a much deeper understanding of the air traffic management surveillance solution than ever before.
Michael Stoller, CEO of Aquila said:
The entry into operational service of the complete Marshall ATM solution at RAF Shawbury marks the achievement of a milestone in the Marshall program. This new technology will transform air traffic management for our military in the UK and overseas and enable our customers to realize significant operational and economic benefits.
The program supports the implementation of the MOD Integrated Defense Command and Review document, released in 2021, which focused on more productive, active and deployed armed forces globally.
RAF Shawbury in Shropshire is the first air base to be declared with Initial Operational Capability under the Marshall Program. It is the headquarters of the Helicopter Central Flying School.