A BOLTON-based missile firm has landed three contracts worth a combined £539 million that will help protect the country's Armed Forces around the world.

MBDA has been awarded three new missile contracts by the Ministry of Defence to develop the state-of-the-art Meteor, Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) and Sea Viper missile systems.

The deals will ensure that the Armed Forces have the best equipment available to protect the new Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers and the extended fleet from current and future threats.

The half a billion-pound contracts will sustain more than 130 jobs with MBDA in the UK, with missile modification and service support being provided from Bolton as well as Stevenage, Henlow and Bristol.

The MoD said that the deal highlights its sustained investment in the North West, with 1,100 new jobs created and increased year-on-year expenditure totalling £2billion from 2013/14 to 2015/16.

The £41 million contract for the Meteor air-to-air missiles will provide the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy with a ‘world beating’ missile that can engage with targets moving at huge speed and at a very long-range. It will enter service with the RAF in 2018.

The anti-air Sea Viper weapon contract is worth £175 million and will ensure that Royal Navy Destroyers can continue to provide protection from air attack to the extended fleet.

Under the contract, the missiles will be maintained, repaired and overhauled as and when required by MBDA to ensure continued capability.

The £323 million CAMM deal will be to purchase the next batch of cutting-edge air defence missiles for the British Army and Royal Navy, offering increased capability at a lower cost.

These will designed and manufactured by MBDA at its Bolton site as well as in Stevenage and Henlow. These have the capability to defend against anti-ship cruise missiles, aircraft and other highly-sophisticated threats.

Dave Armstrong, managing director of MBDA UK, said: "MBDA is delighted by the continued trust placed in us by the Ministry of Defence and the British military. The contracts announced today for Meteor, CAMM and Sea Viper will help protect all three UK Armed Services, providing them with new cutting-edge capabilities and ensuring their current systems remain relevant for the future.

"They will also help to secure hundreds of high-skilled people at MBDA UK and in the UK supply chain, maintaining the UK’s manufacturing base and providing us with a platform for exports.”

The deals were announced by defence secretary Michael Fallon at MBDA's site in Stevenage.