Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) U.K. arm has received a potential $327 million contract to develop an airborne surveillance system for integration with the U.K. defense ministry’s fleet of Merlin HM Mk2 helicopters.
The contract for the Crowsnest aerial surveillance program covers initial provisioning of spares as well as demonstration and manufacturing work, Lockheed said Monday.
Lockheed will design and develop the Crowsnest system, while Thales will provide the Searchwater radar and Cerberus Mission System for integration with the U.K. navy’s Merlin helicopters.
Leonardo’s helicopter business will modify the Royal Navy’s 30 Mk2 aircraft to facilitate the deployment of the Crowsnest system and will perform work at its Yeovil, England-based facility and at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.
The Crowsnest platform will work to detect long-range aerial and surface threats and perform surveillance and intelligence operations in an effort to protect Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers from potential threats.
Paul Livingston, vice president and group managing director of integrated systems business at Lockheed’s U.K. arm, said the company delivered the 30th Merlin Mk2 helicopter to the British navy in 2016 as part of its work on the Merlin Capability Sustainment Program.
Livingston noted that Lockheed also expects the aircraft carriers to commence sea trials in Portsmouth, England, this year.