Jan. 12 (UPI) -- BAE Systems and Vertex Aerospace announced Tuesday that they have signed a nine-year agreement to enhance availability of the U.S. Marine Corps' AV-8B Harrier II fleet.
Vertex, which received a $123 million task order for maintenance of the fleet in July, chose BAE as its subcontractor for the logistics support contract.
Under the contract, BAE and Vertex will "support the crucial training and combat operations conducted from U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and forward operating bases," said an announcement from BAE.
"The Harrier is one of the most iconic military aircraft ever created, with its British designed short take-off and vertical landing technology," Tom Fillingham, senior vice president of US Programs for BAE Systems Air, said in a press release.
"Our expertise with the aircraft goes back 40 years and this new contract with Vertex Aerospace ensures we can continue to apply our expertise to support the U.S. Marine Corps in their crucial operations," Fillingham said.
In May, Boeing was awarded two contracts worth $87.5 million to upgrade the U.S. Marines' T/AV-8B Harrier II trainer aircraft.
The Harrier, meanwhile, is due to be phased out in 2025 while the Marines extend the life of Boeing F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters, per an aviation plan released in 2014.