Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

MoD signs QinetiQ to run Pembrey air weapons training

Jaguar aircraft sited at Pembrey Sands as targets
The Pembrey Sands base trains aircrews in using air weapons

A military air weapons range in Carmarthenshire will be run by defence firm QinetiQ in a three-year deal.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says the firm will install, maintain and replace targets at the base and dispose of unexploded ordnance at Pembrey Sands.

The contract, also covering four ranges in England and Scotland, is worth more than £5m and starts in April.

QinetiQ will have to provide a variety of services including IT support and operation of communications systems.

There is an option to extend the arrangement for two years.

Colonel Mark Waring said: "It is the Defence Training Estate mission to provide the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the Army with safe and suitable facilities that prepare our people for the operational environment.

"Currently, our air weapons ranges are playing a crucial role in preparing aircrews for deployment to Afghanistan.

Mike Howarth, of QinetiQ, said: "These ranges do a vital job and have been used as training grounds for fast jet pilots and helicopter crews prior to deployment to every major military operation over the past 20 years."

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