French aerospace giant Thales and British air traffic control services have won a £1.5 billion (1.9 billion euro, $2.4 billion) contract to upgrade Britain's military air traffic system, the defence ministry said on Wednesday.
A joint venture between Thales and the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) "has been awarded the £1.5bn contract, which includes a £400m investment in advanced surveillance radars and a wide range of sophisticated equipment such as navigation aids and radios," the ministry said.
The contract would affect 60 military facilities in Britain and overseas, including in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean and the Falkland Islands which are disputed with Argentina.
The joint venture, Aquila, said it aimed to "transform terminal air traffic management at military airfields".
The contract would also lead to savings of £1.0 billion over the next 22 years -- the programme's life span.
"Enabling our military aircraft to continue to operate as safely and efficiently as possible is absolutely vital," said Philip Dunne, a minister responsible for defence equipment.
"This significant investment will ensure we have an advanced and secure service at MoD (ministry of defence) sites in the UK and abroad, and will support deployed UK and coalition forces worldwide," he said.
Britain is part of an international coalition conducting air raids against the Islamic State group in Iraq and is carrying out drone surveillance against the jihadists in Syria.