The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded Lockheed Martin a £100m contract to deliver a system that will give commanders a more detailed view of air threats and reduce ‘friendly-fire’ incidents.

The Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) programme will provide ground forces with a detailed local picture of activity in the air, allowing them to better coordinate airspace activity, leading to greater combat effectiveness, the MoD says.

The system consists of a ground-based sensor connected to vehicle or trailer-mounted equipment, which combines the incoming data to produce an air picture which is distributed within headquarters.

UK Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Baroness Taylor says the new system is “world-class” and will give a detailed picture of the positions of allies versus opposing forces in the air.

“It will improve commanders’ ability to plan and strike effectively and help prevent ‘friendly-fire’ incidents,” she says.

“Battles of the future will benefit significantly from this system.”

The LEAPP system is expected to enter service in 2010, the MoD says.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh