Shadow Aircraft Upgrade Passes Critical Design Review

Programme helps secure high-skilled jobs in Wales and strengthens partnership with Welsh companies  

BROUGHTON, Wales, (March 9, 2023) – Raytheon UK announced today that it has passed a critical design review on a £110 million contract, awarded by the Ministry of Defence in 2021, to expand and upgrade the Royal Air Force Shadow aircraft fleet.   

The contract has helped secure 150 highly skilled jobs at Raytheon UK’s Broughton facility and hundreds of jobs throughout the business’s supply chain in Wales and elsewhere in Great Britain, contributing to the UK’s industrial resilience. 

Aircraft in flight over rural setting

In passing the critical design review, Raytheon UK is on schedule and budget to deliver the first three upgraded aircraft back to the RAF in 2024. As part of this achievement, Raytheon UK has also announced that it will be procuring a UK-based full-flight simulator on behalf of the Royal Air Force for training on the aircraft. This will support crews in their training and ensure that they do not have to travel long distances to receive such training, saving time and also learning in an efficient, sustainable manner.  

“We are delighted that our long-term investment in North Wales has helped us reach this important milestone for the RAF and continue developing a sovereign UK capability for our armed forces,” said Jeff Lewis, Chief Executive and Managing Director, Raytheon UK. “Our work with an ecosystem of suppliers in Wales and beyond has ensured that the programme benefits from the latest technology and that SMEs across the region have the opportunity to contribute to this unique capability for the RAF.” 

"It was rewarding to hear from apprentices and others about the importance of this work to them, their families and the local economy."
- Alex Chalk, UK Minister for Defence Procurement 

 “The MOD’s £110m investment in Raytheon UK’s plant in North Wales, is providing the RAF with one of the world’s most modern and capable intelligence gathering assets with which they can continue to defend the UK and its allies,” said UK Minister for Defence Procurement Alex Chalk, during a visit to Broughton to mark the milestone. 

 “UK Defence has longstanding and deep links with the aviation sector in North Wales, and it was really rewarding to hear from the apprentices and other Raytheon UK staff about the importance of this work to them, their families and to the local economy,” he said. 

Aircraft in hangar

 Air Commodore Alex Hicks, Senior Responsible Owner for Shadow, said:  

 “The contract award for a UK-based Full Flight Simulator follows the successful and on-time delivery of two strategic programme milestones in the preceding months. The provision of a new synthetic training facility represents a further enhancement to the Programme of Record that will deliver an exceptionally capable ISR asset to Defence. This is an exciting time for the programme as we prepare to accept delivery of our first Shadow Mk2 aircraft in 2024”.