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12 May 15. Work has begun on a new multi-million pound facility to manufacture turrets for the British Army’s armoured vehicles. Business leaders from across Bedfordshire joined employees from Lockheed Martin UK at the company’s Ampthill site where a new £5.5m development is being built. The facility, which is almost an acre in size, will form part of the production line at Lockheed Martin that will manufacture new turrets for the Warrior armoured vehicles and the Scout SV.
Work on the new building, which is where the vehicle turrets will be kitted out and assembled before being integrated onto the vehicle platforms, is due to be completed in early 2016. Ampthill is the largest of Lockheed Martin’s 21 sites in the UK and the 900 employees based there are involved in a range of programmes. This new manufacturing facility is part of £23m worth of investment that has been made onto the site over the last ten years to expand and upgrade the infrastructure as the business has grown.
Alan Lines, Vice President and Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site, said: “The turrets that will be manufactured in our new facility have been designed and developed here in Bedfordshire and the new production line will help to make Ampthill a world class location for this highly skilled and technical work. Our continued investment is creating opportunities for jobs and exports and demonstrates our commitment not only to the Warrior and Scout SV programmes but also to our workforce and to the local community.”
Employees from Lockheed Martin UK were joined by leaders from Central Bedfordshire Council, the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership as well as representatives from the UK Government.
They were given an opportunity to meet with apprentices and graduates working on the key programmes and explore the existing facilities such as the site’s 3D printing suite, to understand how technology and innovation are driving manufacturing.
Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration and Business at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “High performance technologies is a growing sector and military equipment is one that Central Bedfordshire has a particular strength in.
“Lockheed Martin is at the forefront of this growth and their long term commitment to the local community is highlighted by their large workforce and the fact that they have their largest UK site within our borders. This will only improve and expand with the building of this fantastic £5.5m facility, bringing even more high-skilled and technical jobs to Central Bedfordshire. The Council will continue to provide the support that will enable businesses within all our key sectors to develop and benefit from the economic growth of this prosperous area.”
12 May 15. Australia has begun building the infrastructure it will need to support its planned force of at least 72 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightnings, with much of the work driven by U.S. demands for tightened security of the aircraft and their systems. Construction began this month at RAAF Williamtown, the main fighter base of the Royal Australian Air Force. Initial facilities should be ready at that facility, on the east coast at Newcastle, in 2018, when the first RAAF F-35 to be based in Australia is due to arrive in the country. Work should be completed in 2022 at a cost of about AUS$950m ($760m), Defense Minister Kevin Andrews says. Australia’s second fighter base, RAAF Tindal, inland from the north coast, also will receive a major upgrade. Less work is planned for bases where F-35s will operate from time to time, including the tw