BAE Systems and the U.K. Ministry of Defense have signed a £2 billion partnering agreement to manage ammunition production for the British land forces over a long term period of 15 years. The Land Systems Munitions (LSM) program covers about 80 percent of the munitions used by the armed forces in the U.K., and includes all future supplies of the Armed Forces’ small arms and medium caliber ammunition, mortar bombs, tank, artillery and naval gun shells but not ‘complex weapons‘ such as guided missiles.
According to Bob Ainsworth, Minister for Armed Forces, the LSM partnering agreement secures the long-term supply of ammunitions, ensuring that the UK has a modernized, sustainable munitions industry and support British jobs in several BAE Systems factories at Glascoed, South Wales, Radway Green, Crewe and Birtley, Co Durham.
The new approach will establish long-term planning and enable flexibility, and retain engineering capability required to ensure continuity of munitions supplies. It also provides for production scalability to meet growing demand for ammunition.
For example, to support current the demand, BAE Systems has stepped up production and are providing up to one million rounds of small arms ammunition from their manufacturing facility at Radway Green, Crewe. The company is planning to expand production facilities for 155 and 105mm artillery ammunition, investing £28m to expand new forging, machining centre, and heat and surface treatment plants at at Birtley, to be completed by 2011. At Glascoed an investment of £34m will support new x-ray equipment, a medium-calibre assembly area, insensitive munitions mortar filling plant and new infrastructure such as bulk magazines, an engineering centre for co-location of staff and a new steam generation and distribution system which will be twice as efficient as the existing plant. Radway Green will get a £40m investment to increase capacity by 50 per cent by early 2012.