BAE Systems will receive additional funds worth £20m ($24.9m) to provide the UK Armed Forces with additional small arms ammunition, specifically 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds.
According to the supplier’s 14 November 2023, press release, the ammunition will be produced at its Radway Green manufacturing facility in Crewe and subsequently delivered over a period of two years.
Recently, in July this year, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) made the decision to exercise its option to increase its supply contract with the defence prime from £280m to £410m. Only two months ago, in September 2023, the MoD provided additional funds worth £130m in another order for small arms ammunition.
“We are proud to support the UK MoD as a strategic partner for munitions supply,” Glynn Plant, BAE Systems managing director of munitions, stated. “The significant orders we have secured throughout the year has seen our teams increasing production rates, investing in people and new facilities and maximising shift patterns to meet this enhanced demand.”
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As part of this expansion, the new orders create more than 200 skilled jobs in Northern England and South Wales – at the company’s Washington, Durham and Glascoed, Monmouthshire sites – boosting BAE Systems’ 1,200-strong UK munitions workforce.
Maintaining British stockpiles
During a 7 November House of Commons Defence Committee hearing on the Armed Forces’ readiness, the British Army Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Patrick Sanders reflected on stockpiles, including ammunition, when he said “We have been given the gift of time by the Ukrainians.
“The importance of investing in the Ukrainian fight is that it buys us time for our own recapitalisation and our own modernisation as long as we use that time.”
Moreover, given the recent cuts to Army personnel this creates more flexibility for suppliers such as BAE Systems to supply ammunition to Defence as it reduces the Army’s rate of consumption.
On the topic of personnel cuts, the CGS commented: “Within a fixed cost envelope, if you asked me whether I would have fewer people, better equipped, so with more lethal and better protection then I’ll go with that.
“There is absolutely no point in simply increasing the size of the Armed Forces if you can’t then equip them to fight.”