Defence contractor BAE Systems‘ Land UK business has been awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to supply 155mm smoke and illuminating artillery rounds.

Awarded following the MoD tender process, the contract value amounts to £16m initially and allows the ministry to add extra quantities of the ammunition in later years.

The company is already under contract with the MoD for the delivery of 155mm calibre rounds to the British Army.

BAE Systems Land UK heavy munitions director Lee Smurthwaite said: “This contract is a testament to what collaboration between strong companies can achieve. Manufacturing and assembling products to someone else’s design demands an agile and capable setup, which we’ve demonstrated at our Glascoed and Washington facilities.

“As well as offering excellent value for money, this contract shows the dedication of our people to ensure third-party designs remain interoperable with the British Army’s weapon systems and ultimately, deliver essential capability to soldiers.”

“The multi-spectral smoke rounds enable concealment in the battlefield both in the visual and thermal spectrums.”

BAE Systems will produce the shell bodies at its UK facility in Washington, England, and assemble the smoke and illuminating artillery rounds into the shells at the Glascoed facility in south Wales.

The existing Assegai Carrier design developed by German tank manufacturer Rheinmetall will be employed for the manufacture of the shell body instead of designing a completely new round. This approach will save time and cost, according to BAE Systems.

The smoke and illuminating rounds are designed to offer a longer burn duration and intensity.

They are used in the battlefield for obscuring or lighting during day and night operations, aiding manoeuvre ability for land-based assets.

The multi-spectral smoke rounds enable concealment in the battlefield both in the visual and thermal spectrums.

Last week, BAE Systems announced that it has agreed to sell a 55% interest in its UK combat vehicles business to Rheinmetall.