LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday awarded a 1.5 billion pound ($2.4 billion) contract to manage its military air traffic operations to a joint venture between French firm Thales and NATS.
The MoD said the deal will deliver a long-term, modern and reliable military air traffic management service and would save the British taxpayer up to 1 billion pounds over the next 22 years by merging 70 contracts into one.
The new joint venture, called AQUILA, will operate air traffic control at over 60 MoD sites across Britain and its bases in Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and elsewhere.
NATS, which is jointly owned by the British government and airline companies, controls commercial air traffic in Britain and other countries. (1 US dollar = 0.6205 British pound) (Reporting by Neil Maidment and Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle)