BAE Systems is to receive an availability-based contract to provide support for the UK’s Harrier GR9/9A ground-attack aircraft until the type leaves service around 2018. To be valued at more than £400 million ($680 million), the Joint Availability Support Solution (JASS) deal will be agreed with prime contractor BAE by May 2007, following the completion of an assessment phase launched last July.

Joint Force Harrier

The contract will see the company oversee the in-service support of “repairable avionics, structures, general systems components and consumable articles” for the 60-aircraft GR9/9A fleet, says the UK Ministry of Defence. Rolls-Royce will receive a contract to support the Harriers’ Pegasus turbofans.

“BAE Systems is to support the Harrier fleet at a whole platform level, delivering availability to meet operational and training requirements until the out-of-service date, while delivering greater value for money,” says the MoD. An invitation to tender for the JASS project will be released on 30 June, with BAE required to respond by 30 September to inform a Main Gate recommendation during December 2006.

The JASS agreement will expand an existing partnering relationship between airframe supplier BAE and the UK’s Defence Logistics Organisation in supporting Joint Force Harrier’s current GR7 and upgraded GR9/9A platforms. This includes a joint upgrade and maintenance programme, which is to deliver the UK’s first 24 modified GR9/9As for frontline service by September 2006.

The Harrier will be replaced in UK service by Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which should enter service by mid-2014, according to the UK National Audit Office. However, while the MoD says the GR9/9A will leave service “in the late 2010s”, industry sources have previously suggested that the type could remain in use beyond 2020 (Flight International, 7-13 June 2005).

BAE has received a £42 million contract to provide technical support to the UK’s Harrier strike aircraft until 2014. The company says the agreement will enable it to “create a more responsive service to the Harrier bases at [RAF] Cottesmore and Wittering”.


Source: Flight International