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UK defers Lewis BMD radar plan

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has delayed plans to acquire a ground-based ballistic missile defence (BMD) radar, with the programme now not expected to deliver until the end of the decade.

An annexe to Defence Equipment Plan 2021, published on 21 February, reveals that the BMD radar – also known as ‘Project Lewis' – has been deferred as part of a package of savings and reprofiling measures in the equipment programme. These were agreed as part of the MoD's four-year settlement with the Treasury out to financial year 2024–25.

Under the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR15) the UK government committed to investing in a ground-based BMD radar to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of the NATO BMD system. A request for information was issued to industry in June 2017 to gather information about radar technology and capability, with the expectation that a relocatable, ground-based BMD radar system would be in service by the mid-2020s.

Having passed its Initial Gate milestone, the programme is in the Assessment Phase. The MoD confirmed to Janes that its preferred acquisition strategy is to pursue a US BMD radar option through a Foreign Military Sales case with the US Missile Defence Agency; work is ongoing to determine the preferred technical solution.

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