The US Navy has awarded a new $79m contract to Raytheon for the development of a new and advanced telemetry system for its range support aircraft.

The latest high-tech jet is expected to replace the navy’s traditional telemetry test aircraft, which has been in service since the 1970s.

Raytheon’s new telemetry system will be based within the Gulfstream G550 airborne early warning airframe and is intended to provide multi-role capabilities in telemetry data collection, range safety and surveillance and communications relay.

"Our new range support aircraft will use the latest technology to support advanced weapons testing and other missions for the next 25 years."

Raytheon Naval and Area Mission Defence vice-president Todd Callahan said: “It’s like replacing your old eight-track tapes with streaming digital music, there’s simply no comparison.

“Our new range support aircraft will use the latest technology to support advanced weapons testing and other missions for the next 25 years.”

The company will leverage its wide portfolio of products, advanced technology and extensive test and evaluation expertise in order to develop and supply the new solution to the US Navy.

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The range support aircraft will be used to collect and process telemetry data from missiles, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and vessels once operational.

Raytheon will carry out several tasks such as system design, fabrication and aircraft integration as part of the deal.

The defence contractor company will also conduct flight testing, training and mission operations with the US Navy team members once the aircraft integration is complete before delivering the aircraft.