ENGINEERS in Bolton are set to be at the cutting edge of electronic warfare for the RAF.

Bosses at MBDA in Lostock have been awarded a contract to demonstrate an adapted version of its SPEAR missiles for the air force.

Working with Edinburgh-based partners Leonardo, MBDA technicians will fit the former's miniaturised Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology to its range.

Once deployed, DRFM is designed to jam enemy air defences, whatever the counter-measures on the ground, ensuring the survival of RAF aircraft.

And because of SPEAR's compact size, four can fit in each of the F-35s weapons bay and three can be installed in Eurofighter Typhoons.

Testing of the new SPEAR-EW (electronic warfare) missiles has already been carried out at BAE's aerodrome at Warton, near Blackpool.

Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "These state-of-the-art electronic jammers will confuse our adversaries and keep our pilots safer than ever in the air.

"Paired with the devastating power of precision Brimstone and Meteor missiles, our world-class F-35 and Typhoon jets will continue to rule the skies in the years to come."

Mike Mew, MBD's sales director, added: “SPEAR-EW is a revolutionary new capability that, alongside the existing SPEAR3 weapon, marks a fundamental change in the ability of friendly air forces to conduct their missions despite the presence of enemy air defences."