BAE Systems' technical support work for the UK Royal Air Force's Panavia Tornado GR4 and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft had to accommodate 7,000 additional flight hours due to the country's involvement in Libya through operation Ellamy last year.

Neville Adams, support director at BAE Systems, says that the aircraft's operational output increased by 25% as a result of the "unexpected" campaign. The UK's approximately 120-strong Tornado GR4 fleet logged around 23,000 flight hours in 2011.

BAE Systems supports the Tornado GR4 fleet both at home - RAF Lossiemouth, Leuchars, Leeming, Marham and Coningsby - as well as in Afghanistan, where eight aircraft are deployed by the RAF 904 expeditionary air wing under operation Herrick.

The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) contract covers regular support to ensure aircraft availability as well as modifications for "rapid capability enhancement".

Projects in the latter category includes updating the jet's communication equipment, implementing crew helmets with a cueing system - which utilises information from the aircraft's reconnaissance pods - and "accelerating" projects, such as the use of Raytheon's GPS/laser-guided Paveway bombs.

The regular support part of the 10-year deal covers MRO work, spares and logistics as well as engineering, continued airworthiness management and training services.

Source: Flight Daily News