The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a contract to Exelis to supply upgraded carriage and release technology for the AV-8B Harrier aircraft.

Under the more than $13m contract, Exelis will develop 181 BRU-70/A digital improved triple ejector rack (DITER) units aimed to upgrade the AV-8B’s existing carriage and release system, the BRU-42.

The DITER, which marks a significant capability upgrade for the Harrier ‘jump jet’, provides enhanced carriage capacity and ‘smart’ precision-guided payload compatibility.

Exelis electronic attack and release systems business area defence systems director, Pete Martin, said that the DITER has been designed to offer a modern, high-performance airborne carriage and release capability.

"The systems will improve the Harrier’s ability to deliver payloads successfully and will contribute to overall mission effectiveness," Martin said.

"The aircraft is operational with the US Marine Corps, the Spanish Navy and the Italian Navy."

Exelis-developed 20 of the 181 units will be transferred to Spain, a member of the US Navy-administered joint international programme.

Currently, the BAE Systems and Boeing-developed Harrier II Plus (AV-8B) vertical / short take off and landing (V/STOL) ground-attack aircraft is operational with the US Marine Corps, the Spanish Navy and the Italian Navy.

The aircraft features day and night operability and is fitted with head-up and head-down displays, a digital moving map, an Inertial Navigation System (INS), and a Hands-On Throttle and Stick system (HOTAS).

Work under the contract will be conducted at the Exelis Electronic Systems facility in Amityville, New York, US while the deliveries of the DITER will begin in mid-2015 and will be completed by March 2016.

Defence Technology