The State Department approved a potential $700 million Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of a Ballistic Missile Defense Radar (BMDR) and Command and Control Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) systems to the United Kingdom, the government said March 17.

The U.K.’s request includes one BMDR and two C2BMC user nodes with network capability required to connect to the C2BMC System to support radar operations. It also covers design and construction of a combined radar-equipment shelter, encryption devices, secure communications equipment and other equipment and logistical support for radar operations.

The primary contractor for the sale is Lockheed Martin [LMT].

C2BMCis the integrating element of the BMDS that provides situational awareness and battle management capability. It brings together different sensors across commands to a single command and control weapon system for a user who can then use various missile defense assets. 

Seal of DSCA. (Image: U.S. Department of Defense)

In a fact sheet, MDA describes the system as “the force multiplier that globally and regionally networks, integrates and synchronizes autonomous sensor and weapon systems and operations to optimize performance.”

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale of this equipment “will improve [the U.K.’s] ability to meet current and future ballistic missile threats to the U.K. and NATO by improving the effectiveness of NATO BMD systems.”

The agency noted implementation of this sale may require the assignment of about 15 U.S. government and up to 100 contractors to the U.K. during the construction, installation, integration and testing of the BMDR and C2BMC capability.

The U.K. currently has a radar base at Royal Air Force Station Fylingdales in North York Moors, England. That system is part of the Cold War-era Ballistic Missile Early Warning System that shares information between the U.S. and U.K. on incoming ballistic missile attacks. Other radars in the system are at Thule Air base, Greenland and Clear Space Force Station, Alaska.

As the UK Defence Journal first reported, the U.K.s Defense Equipment Plan 2021, released in February, noted the government decided to “Defer Lewis BMD Radar” as part of an effort to save $132 million to $262 million from 2021 to 2025. This is likely related to the new FMS approval.

Moreover, the U.K. Parliament’s National Audit Office Report on the plan said the Defence Ministry identified delaying “construction of a radar system to detect ballistic missiles (by three years) to 2029”  and aims to save up to $240 million from 2021-22 through 2024-25. It is one of several deferral and disinvestment decisions that seeks to save over $5 billion dollars over a 10-year period.