BAE Systems to Move Bridging Business to Telford in £8 Million Investment


New Titan engineer vehicle lays bridge in under two minutes

Telford, United Kingdom - BAE Systems is set to move its Wolverhampton-based Bridging business to its Telford site as part of the on-going transformation of its Land Systems business. The move, which will involve a total of 54 employees, is expected to be completed by mid-2009.

The decision to transfer Bridging follows a review by BAE Systems aimed at establishing a long-term sustainable military bridging capability with strong growth prospects. The 23-mile move to Telford, which already houses some key support work for the current British Army fleet, will be accompanied by an £8 million investment, which includes the refurbishment of the manufacturing areas, building a new office complex and upgrading all facilities, to greatly enhance the working environment.

In addition to growing the Bridging business, this investment will allow BAE Systems to further develop Telford as the Support Programmes centre of excellence for the light to medium vehicle fleet, a vital element of the British Army capability.

All of the current roles performed at Wolverhampton will transfer and, following consultation, the company is planning for all current employees to transfer their place of work to Telford, avoiding any redundancies and ensuring that current skills are maintained.

Andrew Davies, managing director of BAE Systems Land Systems, said: "This decision, while potentially unsettling for the employees involved, is an essential part of the transformation of our Land Systems business. We are investing more than £8 million in this part of the transformation, which will consolidate our bridging work into Telford to create a centre of excellence for aluminium fabrication and military bridging systems.

"It is just one of the hard decisions we are making in response to the Defence Industrial Strategy to create a more efficient business out of the legacy we inherited for the benefit of the armed forces, national security, the UK taxpayer and our shareholders."

BAE Systems' bridging technology, in service on its new Titan engineer vehicle with the Royal Engineers, is widely regarded as the best available in the world. Titan can lay a 26-metre bridge under fire in just two minutes, faster than any competitor.

Earlier this year, BAE Systems Land Systems Bridging also successfully completed a technology demonstration programme for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) as part of the Future Rapid Effect Systems (FRES). FRES is a multi-billion pound programme to deliver and manage through life a fleet of medium-weight armoured fighting vehicles for the British Army.

The on-going transformation programme in BAE Systems Land Systems was started following the creation of the business in 2004 from five land sector companies. It is a response to the statement in the UK MoD's Defence Industrial Strategy, published in December 2005, that: "We expect to see a significant evolution of BAE Systems Land Systems both to deliver AFV availability and upgrades through life, and to bring advanced land systems technologies, skills and processes into the UK. If successful in their evolution, BAE Systems will be well placed for the forthcoming FRES programme."

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