West Wales Airport has secured a two year MoD contract for the continued supply of its specialised airfield services and facilities.

The contract award, worth £2.5m, will enable the MoD to maintain the test, evaluation and further refinement of its UAS at the Aberporth base.

West Wales Airport has been consolidating a lead position in the UAS market since 2004 when it developed its site to supply specialised facilities for unmanned operations. It is currently the only airport in the world to be authorised by a civil aviation authority to enable UAS flights beyond visual line of sight.

An MoD spokesman said: “The UAS flight services and specialised operating facilities supplied by West Wales Airport during the past few years, has been a key factor in the successes that have been achieved. The Authority is looking forward to maintaining its close working relationship with the airport in the continued delivery of the Watchkeeper system to the UK armed forces.”

The UK’s unmanned systems opportunity has now been enhanced through the development of a partnership between West Wales Airport and Newquay, Cornwall Airport, leading to the creation of the National Aeronautical Centre (NAC).

Ray Mann, Managing Director of West Wales Airport and architect of the NAC, said: “We are delighted with the recognition that the MoD has given to the company through the award of this prime contract. The investment that has been made at West Wales Airport over the years is now beginning to pay dividends; not only to the airport and its UAS customers, but also to the local community. In addition, the creation of the NAC has ensured UAS operators can benefit from world-class facilities as they move to develop larger and even more capable unmanned systems in the future.”