Ultra Electronics Holdings yesterday said its Sonar & Communication Systems business had won an MoD contract worth £56 million to supply and support airborne laser targeting pods for the UK Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
The advanced electronic pods - designated Litening - are due to enter service in 2008 and Ultra's contract includes in-service support for 20 years.
Ultra, which has a major facility at Rugeley in Staffordshire, has teamed up with Rafael, the Litening Pod design authority, which will be the principle sub-contractor on the programme.
The Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft was originally designed to achieve superiority in air-to-air combat.
However, Ultra said that the addition of the Litening pod is a key element of providing Typhoon with an advanced ability to attack targets on the ground with the speed and precision required by modern warfare.
The targeting pod will provide the Typhoon aircraft with a vital air-to-ground targeting capability including the ability to laser-designate a ground target for attack by other aircraft.
The pod will also give the warplane a ground reconnaissance and scanning capability, even when the Eurofighter is flying at maximum speed at low altitudes and carrying out combat manoeuvres.
The pod can also store the digital record of the imagery to facilitate post-mission a nalysis for training purposes.
Douglas Caster, chief executive of Ultra, said: "Ultra, with its teaming partner Rafael, will be providing this exceptional capability to the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
"The addition of precision targeting as well as a ground reconnaissance capability will significantly enhance the operational capability of the Typhoon." He added: "This is another example Ultra teaming with a world-class partner to give the UK armed forces a best-of-breed solution and, at the same time, to provide sovereign operational independence in accordance with the aims of the UK defence industrial strategy."