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Serco awarded contract extension for UK BMD system

Pictured is RAF Fylingdales Raytheon AN/FPS-132 UEWR SSPAR, capable of detecting ballistic missile attacks and conducting general space surveillance and satellite tracking. (DVIDS/Robert Lingley)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded Serco a contract extension for the Solid State Phased Array Radar (SSPAR) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Fylingdales, North Yorkshire.

This contract extension is the second of two three-year options, which will run from 2023 to 2026, the company stated on 18 October.

SSPAR forms part of the UK and US ballistic missile early warning system, with radars hosted at US Air Force bases Cape Cod, Beale, and Thule, as well as at RAF Fylingdales. The radar conducts space surveillance and provides early warning and tracking for ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems.

As part of the contract, Serco will continue to be responsible “for the operation, maintenance, and repair of [RAF Fylingdales] SSPAR and associated hardware and life-support systems including project management, facilities and hardware systems maintenance, [and] analytical and training activities”, Serco added.

The initial contract ran from April 2014 to 2020.

In October 1992 RAF Fylingdales hosted a Raytheon AN/FPS-126 SSPAR, which was replaced with Raytheon's AN/FPS-132 Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) SSPAR in 2011.

AN/FPS-132 UEWR is an ultra-high frequency (UHF) band (300 MHz–3 GHz) 3D missile warning radar that has a maximum detection range of 4,828 km. It is a spiral upgrade of the AN/FPS-126, with ‘significantly' improved tracking and enhanced space surveillance capabilities.

RAF Fylingdales, which forms part of UK Space Command, is an important element of the UK's ballistic missile early warning operations.

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