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Military Air Traffic Management

Volume 587: debated on Wednesday 29 October 2014

I am pleased to announce the successful contract award worth £1.5 billion (ex VAT) to (AQUILA) Air Traffic Management Services to deliver the air traffic management (ATM) sustainment and replacement programme known as Marshall. The programme will last 22 years and covers the operation of more than 60 Ministry of Defence sites in the UK and overseas, including in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands and Ascension Islands.

This programme combines approximately 70 Ministry of Defence contracts into one and is expected to generate £1 billion savings when compared with the contracts it replaces. It will bring the Ministry of Defence up to date with the latest advances in civil ATM technology, improving reliability and streamlining the support chain.

The Ministry of Defence has a legal obligation as an air navigation service provider to ensure the safe operation of aircraft. The Marshall programme will fulfil this obligation by providing a sustainable military airfield ATM capability that will enable air vehicles to operate safely and effectively with tactical freedom, in all weather conditions and in any environment, within the UK areas of responsibility, including permanent overseas airfields, and in support of UK and coalition expeditionary forces worldwide. In addition it will enable compliance with forthcoming changes to ATM regulations.

The contractor will supply, maintain and install new and updated ATM equipment. There will be a £400 million investment in very advanced surveillance radars to equip Ministry of Defence airfields and ranges with sophisticated and robust ATM equipment, including navigation aids and radios.

The contractor will also train maintainers and operators and deliver the service at a high level of availability. The full service will be provided during and after an initial six-year transition period beginning on 1 April 2015, when the service provider will assume responsibility for the provision of the military air traffic management service in its current state. During the transition period the service provider will progressively remove old ATM equipment and replace it with new equipment.