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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold meets Archie Hughes new CEO of ABRO/DARA

BATTLESPACE Editor met Archie Hughes, the new CEO of the ABRO/DARA defence support organisation at DSEI. During the interview ABRO announced two important developments which will clearly sustain the business and drive the organisation forward to meet the goals set by the MoD.

DARA Electronics is the largest ‘In-Service’ electronics maintenance unit in Europe. Its 500 employees provide services to the UK armed forces and Industry, and its capabilities include the repair, modification and calibration for electrical, flight control, instrumentation, radio, radar, electronic warfare, missile and sonic systems.

ABRO was created in 1993 as part of the Logistics Support Review with all the REME static workshops coming under one command. In April 2002 it became a Government Trading Fund offering one-stop-shop support for land systems repair, maintenance and overhaul.

ABRO has 2,100 employees operating from a network of strategically located sites throughout the UK. Turnover is in excess of £137m. In a typical year work is carried out on over 1,000 product lines of military vehicles and equipments, as well as completing in excess of 65,000 specific on-call repair tasks.


In May the MoD announced its decision to merge ABRO and DARA to form a new, in-house defence support group.

The new group will formally merge by April 2008. It will focus on providing a cost competitive, in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capability in support of the Armed Forces, operating where appropriate in partnership with industry.

Lord Drayson, said, “ I am announcing today, subject to trade union consultation and appropriate Parliamentary consent, the creation of a new defence support group by merging together ABRO, retained DARA business units and certain other defence support facilities. This new group, operating as a trading fund, will begin formal trading by April 2008 and will focus solely on the delivery of the Defence Industrial and Technology Strategies by being a flexible, responsive, operationally excellent organisation that provides a cost competitive in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capability in support of the Armed Forces, operating where appropriate in partnership with industry.”

“In ABRO and DARA, the MoD owns two maintenance, repair, maintenance and overhaul businesses that have considerable and in some cases unique practical know-how in maintaining land and air based military equipment. Today’s announcement will ensure that the MoD retains the intellectual property and design skills required to maintain operational sovereignty in key areas as set out in the Defence Industrial and Technology Strategies. We will consult closely with staff and trade unions as the plans for the new organisation develop during the course of 2007.”

Whole Fleet Management Services (CWFMS)

ABRO has been down-selected as one of the contenders for the provision of Comprehensive Whole Fleet Management Services (CWFMS) for the Ministry of Defence.

“ABRO has a critical role to play in the provision of Comprehensive Whole Fleet Management Services and I am delighted that we have been selected in the first phase of the procurement strategy. I believe that our unique relationship with the MoD and industry together with our extensive history of equipment support provision places us at the forefront of this major change programme.” Archie Hughes said.

“ABRO/DARA has unrivalled expertise in the field of Whole Fleet Management Services given our position as the focal point for repairs and upgrades of the legacy vehicle fleet in the Army, our position on VC 10 aircraft support at St Athan and the Sealand avionics repair facility which takes us into the key JSF support programme. We also have our rotary wing repair facility which may form par

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