Adelaide scores $20 million for F/A 18 missile software support

South Australia's unenviable attraction as a missile and bomb testing range is continuing to draw in IT jobs and dollars, with a $20 million deal to provide software support for new air-to-air missile for the Australian fleet of F18 Hornets being awarded to BAE Systems.

The software support facility will be located at the Defence Science Technology Organisation's facilities at Edinburgh, SA, and will customise and improve software for the RAAF's new Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) to Australian requirements.

The ASRAAM missiles replace the RAAF's ageing range of Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, which celebrated their 50th year of US service in 2002.

Australia's F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft are now equipped with the world's most modern missile capability following the introduction into service of the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile.

After a week of debate about offshoring government IT jobs, Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill went in hard to sell the Australian IT job creation benefits of the missile acquisition at a ceremony at RAAF Williamtown (NSW).

"As with many of today's complex systems, software is a major portion of the missile's capability," Hill said. "The deeper maintenance capability will be established at BAE Systems at Edinburgh Park to ensure that Australians conduct missile maintenance in Australia."

The ASRAAM missiles are manufactured by MBDA UK and provide a short range heat-seeking capability to track and intercept airborne targets. The missiles are currently in service with the UK's Royal Air Force and were used during the Iraq conflict.

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