U.S. Raytheon Group took a significant blow from the United Kingdom when the company lost its bid for a missiles contract. Raytheon had lobbied hard for the defense contract. The UK announced its decision not to use the American manufacturer on two major defense contracts worth an estimated 5.5 billion sterling (US$8.09 billion). United Kingdom Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said the UK chose to award its air-to-air missile to the Meteor consortium -- which comprises the UK's BAe and Aerospatiale, part of France's Lagardere. Hoon also said the government will initially hire heavy-lift aircraft from Boeing, but in the long-term wants to buy a new plane from Airbus.