Today's defence related news includes coverage on the Type 31e warships, RAF Typhoons equipped with Meteor missiles and the F-35 programme.
The Sun, The Times and Financial Times reports that three shipbuilding teams have been awarded multi-million-pound contracts to push ahead with plans to build five new Type 31e warships in the UK for the Royal Navy. Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed that teams led by BAE Systems, Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK have been shortlisted for the competition to build the five frigates for £1.25 billion. Each group will be awarded a contract worth up to £5 million to fund the next stage of their plans, with the preferred bidder for the design and manufacture of the ships due to be announced by the end of next year.
RAF Typhoons launched from RAF Lossiemouth this morning for the first time with the Meteor Air-to-Air missile in defence of UK airspace during a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission. This event represents the culmination of many years of research, development and testing to bring this advanced weapon into service on front-line aircraft. The Daily Telegraph carries a picture of a loaded Typhoon jet flying from RAF Lossiemouth. In a longer, online piece, the outlet says the introduction of Meteor represents the culmination of many years of research, development and testing to bring the advanced weapon into service on front-line aircraft.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances. The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our Armed Forces.
The RAF’s prized Typhoon Force is unquestionably now the cornerstone of British and NATO military power. It has proved itself in combat roles over Libya, Iraq and Syria, protecting UK skies and overseas territories, and providing critical support to our NATO Allies in Eastern Europe.
Following articles from the Express and Daily Mail which make incorrect claims that paint coatings have to be re-applied after each flight for F-35s, the RAF has issued the following statement:
The F-35 is a state of the art stealth fighter that requires different maintenance of its surfaces than other RAF aircraft. This is neither unusual nor a design fault.
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