WARTON, England, May 2 (UPI) -- The Royal Air Force’s fighter fleet of Tornado GR4 aircraft will receive support services from BAE Systems until retirement in 2019.
Under the Availability Transformation: Tornado Aircraft Contract, or ATTAC, from Britain’s Ministry of Defense BAE Systems will provide on and off maintenance of the fighters and also provide capability enhancements.
The contract is worth $211 million and is an extension of a 2006 award, which was extended for services through this year.
BAE Systems said that changes to the contract and greater efficiencies in fleet management will save the British government nearly $152 million over its period of performance.
"This (contract) investment will ensure our Tornado aircraft continue to be battle ready for the next five years, as a key part of the RAF's fast jet fleet,” said Defense Secretary Philip Hammond.
"They currently play a vital role in supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan and they will continue to form the backbone of our ground attack capability until the Joint Strike Fighter arrives and the Typhoon's ground attack capability is fully mature in a few years' time.
“This contract will help sustain the specialist skills across the UK which makes Britain a world leader in engineering," he said.
The Tornado GR4 has a combat range 874 miles and carries a variety of missiles and bombs. The aircraft is flown by Britain, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia.